It’s A Grey Day As Havana Sparkles In Sapphire Success

7 months ago

Karl Burke (pictured above) is enjoying another fine campaign and the Yorkshire-based handler landed another big prize when his Havana Grey (10/1) proved too strong for Caspian Prince and Mabs Cross in the Group 2 Sapphire Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday.

Highlighted in last week’s Betting. Net ante-post preview of the forthcoming Group 2 King George Stakes as the best value each-way bet at 20/1, the three-year-old colt is now down to a top priced 10/1 with Coral for that event following his length defeat of last year’s winner, Caspian Prince (5/2), and the recent King’s Stand Stakes third Mabs Cross (2/1f), who again filled that position.

A smart juvenile having won the Group 3 Molecomb Stakes at Glorious Goodwood ( see below) before finishing runner-up in the Group 2 Flying Childers Stakes at Doncaster, the son of Havana Gold didn’t fire earlier in the campaign but has bounced back in style after being given a break.

“It wasn’t really a surprise because we always knew the ability was there,” winning jockey PJ McDonald told reporters. “For some reason or another, he just wasn’t firing early on in the year. Fair play to Karl, he didn’t panic and let him come good. They’ve got him back and, fingers crossed, now we can have a good end to the season.

“I was always happy to stay away from [Caspian Prince] as I didn’t want to get into a duel early on. My horse can make all, so I’m not afraid to race on my own with him. It was a great training performance to get him back today and, fingers crossed, he can keep progressing and he should be a decent sprinter by the end of the year.”

Havana Grey has also been cut in the ante-post market for the Group 1 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York on August 24, now being a top priced 14/1 shot with Ladbrokes having previously been on general offer at 20/1.

Paul Alster

Written by Paul Alster

Paul Alster has been part of the British and international racing media for more than three decades working as a race commentator, TV/radio presenter, journalist, betting correspondent, SP returner, and form analyst. He’s always sought out overpriced runners in handicap races, a quest that excites him as much now as it did at the start of his career.