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Burke eyeing up York date for sprint duo

Burke eyeing up York date for sprint duo
Burke eyeing up York date for sprint duo

The 1895 Duke Of York Clipper Stakes appears the preferred next stop for Karl Burke-trained sprinters Spycatcher and Marshman following their mixed efforts in Newmarket’s Abernant Stakes.

It was the Highclere Thoroughbreds-owned Spycatcher who performed best of the Spigot Lodge pair, finishing third and beaten less than a length by winner Washington Heights, having lost a shoe at a vital moment in the Group Three event.

Burke also feels going conditions may have slightly gone against his soft ground-loving six-year-old, who was only a short-head away from Group One glory in France last summer.

The Curragh’s Group Two Greenlands Stakes on May 25 is waiting in reserve if conditions prove unsuitable for Spycatcher at York, but the Middleham handler is hopeful both can take their chance in the six-furlong event on the Knavesmire.

“Hopefully, the ground is right for the pair of them to go to York for the Duke Of York,” said Burke.

“Spycatcher obviously wants cut in the ground and if it turned up firm there, then Marshman would go to York and Spycatcher is in a race in Ireland, the Greenlands.

“Spycatcher ran a cracking race and he’s only just come to himself. I think if you ran it on the first day (of the meeting), with a bit more juice in the ground, he just might have won.

“He pulled a shoe off just at the top of the dip and Clifford (Lee, jockey) said he felt it and just lost his balance for a stride or two. I think it probably cost him second, but on soft ground, I think he would have won.”

Marshman was second to Montassib at Doncaster
Marshman was second to Montassib at Doncaster (Nigel French/PA)

Marshman finished a lacklustre 13th of 14 in the Abernant and having failed once again to handle the undulations of the Rowley Mile, connections will look forward to returning the four-year-old to a more level surface and a track where he has some encouraging form figures.

“Marshman was disappointing and we’ve run him twice at Newmarket now and he’s run moderately,” continued Burke.

“Sam (James, jockey) was adamant he hated the undulations and although he was very keen when we ran him in the Middle Park, I would say he wants a flat track.

“If you look back; Doncaster, Chantilly, Deauville are the tracks where he’s been at his best. He’s a good horse with a lot of ability, but he’s a bit quirky.”

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