Karl Burke's horses are in blistering form this summer and the Spigot Lodge trainer provides us with an update on plans for some of his key contenders.
Karl Burke on training in Yorkshire...
We've been just over 18 years here at Spigot Lodge, Middleham, and before that we were in Newmarket for just over two years. Then five and a half years in Wantage before that. A couple of years at Broadway just outside Cheltenham prior to that, and then when we started out in Newark we were there six months but I should never have started training there as the facilities weren't good enough.
Training up in Yorkshire is completely different, as you can imagine, from training in Newmarket, and I don't think I'd want to train anywhere else now.
The quality of life is good, the facilities in Middleham are excellent and I'd say the all-weather tracks here as good as anything in Newmarket.
There are a lot of horses trained out of Middleham and a lot of winners among them. I'd say percentage-wise it's probably the best training centre in the country.
Karl Burke on the Go Racing In Yorkshire Summer Festival...
The Summer Festival is a great concept, it obviously advertises the county really well and it advertises the horses, the trainers, the facilities and the racecourses in the county.
And it seems to be going from strength to strength every year which is fantastic. We'll be looking to have a few runners no doubt during the Festival.
Five to Follow for Go Racing in Yorkshire Summer Festival...
SEIZE THE TIME: She's a possible to run first time out through the Summer Festival and might be one for black type races later in the year.
FINERY: She's a lovely Al Kazeem filly who could be ready to win on her debut. I'd go as far as to say she could be our best two-year-old filly from what we've seen at home so let's hope she lives up to it on the track.
DIVINTY: She's been a little bit disappointing on her last couple of starts but we pitched her in quite deeply and I wouldn't say her mark of 90 is beyond her.
LITTLE INDIA: She's gone close the last twice and still has a little room for improvement. I'd expect her to be winning sooner rather than later.
GIN GEMBRE: We're actually going to run him in the very first race on the first day of the Festival at Ripon. It's a seller and we're thinking of fitting headgear which will hopefully help him concentrate.
Karl Burke on a slight downscale in 2020...
I really need to be hands-on with the horses and I'm not a particularly good trainer by telephone or by numbers. I enjoy really knowing the horses.
I think by next year it's possible that we'll reduce the numbers just a little bit, to make it that bit more enjoyable. Otherwise there's no point doing it if you're not enjoying what you're doing.
Karl Burke on high-profile owners...
It's fantastic, it's what when you start off trainer you really want to be. Sometimes when you get there you end up chasing your tail a bit but I think it's fantastic and hopefully we can keep all those people happy and keep training nice horses for them.
They're all good people to train for as they all understand the game and that makes it more enjoyable.
We like to keep a small share in just about all the horses we buy at the sales ourselves as we like to think we still look to buy value. It's served us well over the years recently and has allowed us to reinvest in the infrastructure of the yard.
We've been very, very lucky but at the same time we've probably got involved in way too many horses - it's great when they're all winning but it can easily go the other way so we've got to be a bit careful. We've a small part of around 30 horses and the aim would be to halve that next year.
Karl Burke on targeting French Group races...
We've had plenty of success aboard over the years and have a nice little routine going. It's not easy to go to France from here but we've proven it can be done and done successfully.
I've studied the programme over in France for a long time now and I love the layout of the races, not necessarily the Group races but most of the other races. The conditions are really specific and there's a race for every horse if you need to go that way.
We could learn a lot from them in terms of the type of races we run.
LAURENS: It was disappointing to have to miss the Falmouth Stakes but the small setback looks to have cleared and she's due to start being ridden out again this week. As long as there is no reaction to that then we'll look to run in the Prix Rothschild and after that it's be nice to go and try and defend her crown in the Matron Stakes. Following that the Sun Chariot and then, God-willing, possibly go for the Breeders' Cup Mile which would be her swan-song I'd have thought. She's cantering lovely and hopefully we're full steam ahead now as it's been frustrating as a few people were suggesting we could have had her tighter (physically) for the Lockinge. But we felt we had her fit enough to do herself justice and she did. Then we have a few minor niggles in the run-up to Ascot and they may have had a knock-on and contributed to her latest setback. I wouldn't be a fan of dropping to Group Two level and think we can now go back to the original plan.
KELLY'S DINO: We were thinking we might go for the big handicap at Newmarket on Saturday but we've had a bit of a change of plan and are thinking of going for the Group Three at York instead. It may seem strange but the prime target is the Sky Bet Ebor at York - he's running off 102 now after his Haydock win at the weekend and that may not be high enough to get into the Ebor so my line of thinking is that if he can run a good race over the same trip at York on Saturday then if he runs well he might just go up another 2lb or 3lb which could get him into the race. He won with his ears pricked last weekend and there's plenty more in the tank. Running in the Melbourne Cup would be a bit of a dream come true.
TRUE MASON: He's got some excellent two-year-old form and he still has a lot of ability. He's down the weights a little bit and we gave him an entry in the Stewards' Cup at Glorious Goodwood so those top handicaps could come into the equation off his current mark now. I still think there's a Group race in him, but we may look at Goodwood. He's had a little rest and a wind op which we hope will help.
LORD OBERON: He's another one for the high-class sprint handicaps. He's more of a seven furlong horse but he loves soft ground and the Ayr Gold Cup might be a logical long-term target for him as he'd stay the stiff six really well if it came up soft.
VITALITE: He's unbeaten from two starts and with a bit of luck will be a Group horse in the future. He is looking a very nice horse. He's won his two races at Haydock very comfortably, and the form has worked out great. He's got an opening mark after two runs of 94, so the handicapper thinks a bit of him. I've got a three-year-old handicap at the Ebor meeting at York as a possibility for him, but he's got to have one more run to qualify for that.
CLASSY MOON: I'm confident he'll run a good race in the July Stakes at Newmarket. He's a powerful animal and shows a high level of ability at home. It's a big step up from a Carlisle maiden and Mark Johnston's horse (Visinari) looks a potential star but it might be an open renewal apart from him and we think the step up in distance from five furlongs at Carlisle is definitely going to help. I wouldn't be surprise to see him run very well.
DUBAI STATION: He ran a great race in the Norfolk Stakes when third there and came out of Royal Ascot well. His owner won the Gimcrack at York last year and the plan would be to target that race with him. We might look to France next as there's a nice Group Three (Prix de Cabourg) coming up over there for him and he wouldn't get a penalty for the Gimcrack should he go and win. He's a nice colt and will handle any ground.
RAYONG: He's a nice Mayson colt who also won at Carlisle. He was third in a Listed race last time and like to think we can continue to campaign him at that sort of level.
CLASSY MOON: I was a bit worried about the five furlongs first time out at Carlisle and even more so when he got bumped at the start but he finished the race off really well and moving up to six furlongs should suit him in the July Stakes at Newmarket. He's a horse with a huge amount of ability and six furlongs will definitely suit.
SEIZE THE TIME: This is a nice filly. She hasn't been with us that long but she gallops very well. She's a nice little Siyouni filly for Phoenix Thoroughbreds and she could be the type to win a little race first time out in the next few weeks.
NEVER IN PARIS: We've been keen on her from the start and she's a lovely No Nay Never filly. She pleased us when winning first time out the other day. She could go to the Weatherbys Super Sprint, or for the Princess Margaret Stakes (Ascot).
DO YOU LOVE ME: This is the one that Phoenix bought at Goffs for 3.2million. Hopefully she lives up to it. She's been quite backward so we've had to take our time a little bit but she's just getting there now. She's in Quiet Reflection's old box but that's more luck than judgement - we had to put something decent in it! But She's a lovely filly, not a precocious filly but hopefully one for the future.
FINERY: Everything we've seen from her on the gallops would suggest she could turn out to be one of our best two-year-olds this season and we're keeping everything crossed for her and she's a gorgeous filly. She hasn't run yet, but I'm thinking of starting her off in the fillies' maiden at Doncaster that Laurens won. We hold her in high regard and is certainly one I hope you'll be hearing a lot more of later in the season.
INSANIA: She goes for a fillies' nursery off 78 over six furlongs. She's a nice filly and I think she's well capable of winning off that kind of mark.
LIVING IN THE PAST: She won first time out at Beverley last week and she'll probably head down the Super Sprint route - that's certainly an option anyway. She's also got an entry in the Sky Bet Lowther and she's a progressive filly.
MISS LUCY: She runs in the Newmarket maiden. She was a bit disappointing at Catterick but in hindsight it was probably the worst track we could have run her on.
MACHO TOUCH: She's more than capable of making an impact in good races as she showed when fifth in the Marygate Stakes at York. The form's worked out well and she could go to Beverley next week for a fillies' novice event. She's a good looking daughter of Camacho.
Trainer Karl Burke was speaking at the launch of the Go Racing In Yorkshire Summer Festival... Click here for more details and to book tickets.