Karl Burke was born over the Black Swan pub in Rugby and later moved across town to the Red Lion which his father ran for sixteen years during which time Karl gained his first interest in racing through watching it with his dad. Karl and his wife Elaine met at school and they have two girls Kelly and Lucy. Karl and his family have been based at Spigot Lodge in Wensleydale since 2000 which is steeped in racing history having been named after the 1821 St Leger winner Jack Spigot.
Karl rode his first winner for Alan Jarvis in an apprentice race at Hamilton on The Britisher. Always likely to be too heavy for the Flat he switched codes to jump racing, and went on to gain 50 winners from 750 rides. Karls interests subsequently turned to training and his career took a new direction as he and Elaine set up a livery and pre-training yard in Newark where they broke young stock in. It was from here that they started training a small string of both flat and jump horses before moving to Broadway near Cheltenham where they rented a yard with more space. As the string of horses increased Karl moved to Ginge in 1990 where he enjoyed further success with horses such as Philistar and Daring Destiny; winner of the Ayr Gold Cup, a Group 2 in Germany and a Group 3 in Ireland. His profile as a trainer continued to grow and in 1998 he moved to High Havens Stables on Hamilton Road in Newmarket before he finally purchased Spigot Lodge where he has trained ever since.
Spigot Lodge is ideally situated between Middleham's High and Low Moor gallops with a seven furlong uphill polytrack, a four furlong baby track as well as a grass gallop on Low Moor. High Moor has a one mile four furlongs woodchip as well as some superb grass gallops.