Anthem set to drop in grade for Phoenix Sprint
Eddie Lynam will run his classy three-year-old sprinter Anthem Alexander in Sunday's Phoenix Sprint at the Curragh ahead of a tilt at next month's Sprint Cup at Haydock.
Successful in last year's Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot, Anthem Alexander has run well in defeat on her last two Group One outings over six furlongs behind Muhaarar in the Commonwealth and July Cups.
She had begun 2015 with a decisive Group Three victory at Naas on June 1, and is now poised to revert to that level for Sunday's Qatar-sponsored event.
"She runs on Sunday and Pat Smullen rides her," the in-form Co Meath handler said of his daughter of Starspangledbanner. "She ran very well at Ascot and ran a good race in the July Cup as well. I know Muhaarar is top-class but most of those three-year-olds struggle a bit in sprints at that level.
"She has been running with great credit and it looks a nice race for her to go for. I'm hoping to go to the Haydock Sprint Cup with her in early September then. We were second in that with Slade Power two years ago and it is a race that might suit her."
Conditions at headquarters are being given as yielding, good to yielding in places, but Lynam, who also has the exciting Curragh maiden winner Fort Del Oro among four entries for Sunday's €60,000 event, is happy that the ground will suit Anthem Alexander. "I think we have nice weather between now and then, so it should be no worse than it is and it could be better.
"If there is some ease, Fort Del Oro will run, too. It is very hard to find races for a filly like her in Ireland. She is a filly I like but it would be a hard ask for her on only her third run."
On August 21, stable star Sole Power, two places in front of Anthem Alexander when fourth at Newmarket, will bid to become just the third horse to win the Nunthorpe Stakes three times. Lynam added that the five-time Group One winner will most likely race on as a nine-year-old next term.
"Sole Power is in very good form - we are very happy with him," he said. "He runs in the Nunthorpe; he loves York, he has won the race twice and been placed in it once, so we are looking forward to running him.
"He ran very well in Newmarket. I know he hasn't won over six, but he has been placed in a number of Group Ones. The Nunthorpe will be his best chance of winning another Group One this year, I would think. His July Cup run and his win in Dubai in March would have to be up there with his best runs over six and five. He is a horse we love, so, when he tells us he has had enough, we'll retire him. He is still enjoying life so in all likelihood he will head back to Dubai next spring."
Lynam also stated that last year's classy juvenile Agnes Stewart had been roughed off ahead of a four-year-old campaign after failing to make the track this term due to muscular problems in her hind quarters.
Mick Halford, meanwhile, has suggested that his recent smart Ascot winner Portage could be aimed at the Cambridgeshire at Newmarket on September 26.