Sprint Cup assignment for Spycatcher after narrow Deauville defeat

Spycatcher will be targeted at the Betfair Sprint Cup at Haydock following his near-miss in Sunday’s Prix Maurice de Gheest.

Having impressed in a Group Three at the track four weeks earlier, the five-year-old returned to Deauville for Sunday’s Group One feature and looked set to provide trainer Karl Burke with a first top-level success in almost four years when quickening clear of the field.

In the end he was mowed down by King Gold, with just a short head separating the pair at the line.

Burke said: “It was a bit frustrating as it was literally a nod of the heads, wasn’t it? Sometimes they go for you and sometimes they go against you, it’s just a shame it went against us in a Group One.

“I think he was probably the best horse in the race. Take nothing away from the winner, who stays really well, whereas we have that turn of foot and got away from them by that two or three lengths and probably thought we had the race in the bag at the furlong pole.

“The winner just cut us down and then we battled back again, credit to Spycatcher, but it was heads up heads down and it went against us.”

The Spigot Lodge handler is now hoping similarly testing conditions prevail on Merseyside on September 9 to give his charge the best chance of going one better ahead of a likely tilt at the Qipco British Champions Sprint at Ascot in October.

“Fingers crossed he stays in one piece and Haydock will be the plan, presuming the ground is right, and also Champions Day at Ascot, which nine times out of 10 does come up in our favour,” he added.

“We’re in the lap of the gods really as if either of those races are run on fast ground he won’t be there, but hopefully we’ll find some nice sprint races for him here or in France or wherever.”

Two and a half lengths behind his stablemate in fourth at Deauville was Cold Case, who Burke feels is now in need of more of a stamina test.

“He ran well, Cliff (Lee, jockey) just felt he was a little bit behind the bridle for whatever reason and he didn’t show his usual dash,” said the trainer.

“A step up in trip is definitely in the offing for him. He’ll go up to seven furlongs and we’ll probably try him at a mile before the season’s out.

“He’s a high-class horse but is probably not at that level just yet. Something like the Park Stakes at Doncaster next month could be a good one for him.”

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