06/17/2016 2:10PM

Quiet Reflection wins Commonwealth Cup; Qemah takes Coronation Stakes


The filly Quiet Reflection won her fifth consecutive sprint stakes and her first Group 1 in Friday’s $567,800 Commonwealth Cup for 3-year-olds at Royal Ascot in England. The victory gave trainer Karl Burke hopes of starting Quiet Reflection in Group 1 sprints against older horses in England in September and October.

Ridden by Dougie Costello, Quiet Reflection was the 7-4 favorite in the six-furlong Commonwealth Cup. Quiet Reflection raced in the middle of the field of 10 for the first half of the race. Costello guided Quiet Reflection closer to the front in the final quarter-mile before taking the lead with a furlong remaining.

By Showcasing, Quiet Reflection won by a length over 14-1 Kachy, a Group 3 winner in England at 2. Washington DC, a winner of three minor stakes for trainer Aidan O’Brien in the last year, finished third at 8-1.

Quiet Reflection gave Costello his first Group 1 win in a flat race. He was a Grade 1 winner of a hurdle race at Cheltenham in March 2012.

Burke, a former jockey, won his first Group 1 in England with Quiet Reflection, who is owned by a partnership. Burke has won Group 1 races in France and Italy in the past.

Burke’s stable has had a revival in recent seasons after he was banned for 12 months in 2009-10 after admitting to supplying gambling information in 2004 to an owner suspended at the time for illegal wagering through a betting exchange.

Burke’s wife ran the stable from 2009 to the summer of 2013 before Karl Burke regained his license. From 2011 to 2013, Burke was an assistant trainer.

“We had a few problems a few years ago, but that’s in the past,” Burke said on British television on Friday. “I know what happened. I broke a rule and got punished for it. I think we’ve done well to get back to where we are so quickly.”

After Friday’s win, Burke said Group 1 races such as the Betfred Cup Sprint at Haydock Park on Sept. 3 and the British Champions Sprint on Oct. 15 are possible goals for Quiet Reflection.

The Commonwealth Cup was the first of two Group 1 races on Friday’s program, the fourth day of the five-day Royal Ascot meeting. The meeting’s top race for 3-year-old fillies was Friday’s $567,800 Coronation Stakes at a mile, won by the French invader Qemah.

She beat Nemoralia and Alice Springs, who were third and second in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Keeneland last October.

Qemah (6-1) was ridden by Gregory Benoist. Qemah took the lead in the final furlong and won by 1 3/4 lengths over 4-1 Nemoralia.  Jet Setting, the winner of the Group 1 Irish 1000 Guineas at The Curragh on May 22, finished sixth as the 9-4 favorite.

Qemah, by Danehill Dancer, was third in the French 1000 Guineas at Deauville on May 15. Her win in the Coronation marked the second consecutive season that trainer Jean-Claude Rouget has won the prestigious race.

Qemah is owned by Al Shaqab Racing. She gave the France-based Benoist his first win at Royal Ascot.

French Oaks on Sunday

Rouget has three of the 16 fillies entered in Sunday’s $1.12 million French Oaks at Chantilly, including leading contender La Cressonniere, who won the French 1000 Guineas.

Benoist will ride the Rouget-trained Jemayel, who won the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary at Deauville on May 16 for Al Shaqab.

The Group 1 French Oaks, formally known as the Prix de Diane, is run at 1 5/16 miles on a right-handed course. The likely favorite is Ballydoyle, who was second in the English 1000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 1.

Trained by Aidan O’Brien, Ballydoyle won the Group 1 Prix Marcel-Boussac at Longchamp Racecourse in Paris last October. Ballydoyle was a candidate for the Coronation Stakes until O’Brien chose the French Oaks because of soft turf at Ascot. Chantilly is projected to have a good-to-soft turf course on Sunday.