Karle Burke, Spigot Lodge, Middleham
Proven success, with well over 900 winners, is the hallmark of the Burke team: Karl, Elaine and daughters Kelly and Lucy. They moved to historic Spigot Lodge in idyllic Wensleydale in 2000, and are ideally situated between famous Middleham High and Low Moor gallops.
Four reasons why the Burkes are our preferred flat trainer:
- Commitment, innovation and value for money: the Burkes are always prepared to look at different ways of operating in their training regime, feeding, investment in new facilities and race planning. Whether it is targeting valuable races in France, building a two furlong, 16-horse loose exerciser (the first in the UK) or evaluating a satellite yard in the south, they continually strive for a new competitive edge. And all of this is done in an admirably cost-conscious way so that owners obtain real value.
- A clear training philosophy: Spigot Lodge horses are notably happy and healthy. The Burkes break in the yearlings themselves, do all the preparatory work and ensure that the horses are neither over-stressed nor over-faced. They run consistently well throughout the whole season.
- Active involvement in bloodstock sales: Karl has an extremely strong network of contacts and agents, and is a supporter of sales at Doncaster, Newmarket, Deauville, Keeneland and the breeze-ups at Gorsebridge, ably assisted by Lars Kelp. He knows exactly the type of horse he wants: speed influenced, well balanced, a good walker, a bold eye, honest head. Conformation first and pedigree second.
- Course knowledge: as an ex-jockey, Karl really knows his way around the racing circuit and has tremendous insight into the best way to ride. Listening to his briefings of jockeys is always an education. This certainly contributed to the championship success last season of his lead jockey, Martin Harley.
It is always a pleasure visiting Spigot Lodge and being close to a yard that displays these qualities. Indeed, one of his owners said in a Racing Post interview recently, ‘There are few better flat racing trainers in the country than the Burkes’.