Karl Burke acts swiftly to replace PJ McDonald on Irish Champions Weekend

Wed 5 Sep 2018

Danny Tudhope will ride Laurens in the Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes while Ben Curtis partners Havana Grey in the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five as Karl Burke moved to replace the injured PJ McDonald.

McDonald has enjoyed  a stellar season on Laurens, winning two Group Ones in France and rode his 100th winner of the year earlier this week.

But the former jumps jockey was thrown from Westwood Ho in the paddock before a race at Newcastle on Monday and suffered fractures to his left heel and his right ankle.

“Danny Tudhope will ride Laurens and Ben Curtis will ride Havana Grey in the Flying Five,” said Burke.

“It’s very unfortunate what happened to PJ, but we’ve had a good chat about and that is the route we’ve decided to go down.

“Ben has been riding regular for us for a few years and a while ago I was using Danny a lot before he got busy with David O’Meara but he rode a winner at York for us (Commanding Officer) and is obviously riding at the top of his game.

“Both lads are riding full of confidence and that is what you need at the highest level.”

Laurens will be dropping back down to a mile in Ireland after failing to see out the trip in the Yorkshire Oaks, but Burke is unconcerned.

“She’s been 100 per cent since York, nothing physical has shown up, she just didn’t stay,” he said.

“She’s a filly who likes to get on with things, she was a bit keen when she won the Prix de Diane. We were confident she was going to stay but until you try you don’t know.

“We’re looking forward to the challenge of taking on Alpha Centuari.”

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