Karl Burke will run the gamut of emotions over the next couple of days after achieving the pinnacle of his career with a first Group One victory in the Etihad Airways Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly.
Looming large over the Middleham trainer’s head is the verdict of a long-running British Horseracing Authority investigation into corruption, which is expected to be known this week.
Burke is having a prolific season though, and had skilfully returned his colt to form for a close third to Mastercraftsman and Delegator in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.
It was also a first top-level success for popular jockey Jim Crowley, who tracked the leader Milanais before kicking on at the home bend of the mile event.
Lord Shanakill briefly earned himself a bit of clear water but was in for a mighty tussle as Christophe Lemaire and Oiseau De Feu threw down a sustained challenge but just could not get past.
Burke said: “On the betting here he went out to something like 11-1 and I thought that was an amazing price as we felt we were coming here with a favourites chance, we really did.
“It is my first Group One winner and it does so much for the horse’s CV so we are really delighted.
“I tried to get him a Group One in the Dewhurst when he was second last year, then he had a bad preparation for the Guineas and he ran no race.
“The Prix Jacques le Marois is a possibility and the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood, they are the races to consider.”
Reflecting on the affect of the BHA hearing, Burke added: “At times it has been hard to concentrate, but if anything it helps because I have just been putting all my efforts into the job and doing what I can do best.
“I have just tried to block it out.”
With trainer Nicky Henderson last week receiving a three-month ban on sending out runners and a heavy fine for administering a banned anti-bleeding drug in the Moonlit Path case, Burke remains sangfroid about the possibilities.
“Who knows?” he said. “We’ll get the results on Monday. They (BHA) have set their stall out with bans and fines in the last week and we will have to see what their position is for offering opinions.”
Crowley added: “The race didn’t quite go to plan – we could have done with a stronger pace really but he’s very good. He’s probably the most consistent horse around.”
Oiseau de Feu was a head behind while German Guineas winner Irian flew from off the pace to finish half a length further back in third.
Aidan O’Brien’s Westphalia ran far too freely in taking fifth.
Rider Jimmy Fortune reported: “He was just too keen. The first-time blinkers set him alight and you can’t do it at both ends of the race.”
Burke and Crowley had earlier made a solid start to the day when juvenile Corporal Maddox flashed home for third in the Prix du Bois.
The Woodcote Stakes winner was popular in the betting for the Group Three prize but could not get into the race until the closing stages, by which time Dolled Up was clear.
Olivier Peslier enjoyed a smooth passage along the inside rail, quickening past Chantilly Creme with under a furlong to run and finishing a length up.
Dolled Up’s trainer Robert Collet nominated the Prix Robert Papin at Maisons-Laffitte on July 26, where she could meet Richard Hannon’s star Canford Cliffs.
Of Corporal Maddox, Burke said: “We were always taking a chance over five furlongs as he’s six-furlong horse and he wouldn’t have come if Lord Shanakill wasn’t running.
“He jumped away a bit slowly and would have been closer otherwise. But we’re pleased and he might go for the Richmond Stakes now.”
Peslier claimed the other Group Three, the Prix Chloe, to boot.
His mount Wilside seems a filly who does not appear to ever win by very far and arrived on the back of two tight victories at Maisons-Laffitte.
This event required another photo-finish and she had to work hard to first pass Denomination and then hold off the motoring One Clever Cat by a head.
“She’s just a very courageous filly and not complicated at all,” said trainer Mikel Delzangles.
“I haven’t got any plans for her at the moment.”