Sport Horse Racing

Friday 21 October 2016

Doyle's Naas raid to reap reward with Toscanini

Published 01/06/2015 | 02:30

Mick Halford-trained Toscanini clashes with Anthem Alexander in a €65,000 Group Three
Mick Halford-trained Toscanini clashes with Anthem Alexander in a €65,000 Group Three

Toscanini and Anthem Alexander clash in a €65,000 Group Three that spearheads a quality bank holiday spread at Naas this afternoon.

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Six runners have been declared for the Racing Post-sponsored Lacken Stakes, with John Murphy's Compass Hill the one that we know least about.

The Mizzen Mast colt was second to the 1,000 Guineas runner-up Lucida on its sole outing at the Kildare track last summer, when Cape Clear Island finished behind him in fourth.

It will be interesting to see how he fares on his return under Shane Foley, who has had to forfeit the ride on the Mick Halford-trained Toscanini to Godolphin's visiting retained rider James Doyle, who flies in for three cracking mounts. Toscanini showed some smart juvenile form, notably when second to Gleneagles in the National Stakes at the Curragh.

He duly confirmed his potential on his comeback at Navan last month, quickening into a decisive lead before tiring. In the end, he only had a head to spare over the race-fit Ainippe, but it was a stylish performance that he should be able to build on now.

Anthem Alexander also has enormous potential. On official ratings, last year's Queen Mary victor has four pounds in hand with Toscanini here.

Eddie Lynam will doubtless mould her into a decent sprinter, but she will surely have to be at the top of her game to cope with the selection. On her reappearance, that might be asking a lot.

In the Rochestown Stakes for two-year-olds that was won by Dawn Approach in 2012, Doyle is on Richard Fahey's Birchwood, which has recently been acquired by Godolphin.

The Dark Angel colt is unbeaten in two starts, latterly when finding plenty for pressure to triumph at Newbury.

The second and third have since come out and won - as has one of the also-rans - which gives the form a solid look. Louth native Fahey does well on his forays home, so a chance is taken on Birchwood being good enough to account for Argentero and Auld Enemy, with Ballydoyle's newcomer Air Vice Marshall the unknown quantity.

Fahey and Doyle will also go close with Heaven's Guest in the Owenstown Stud Stakes. This is a deeply competitive seven-furlong Listed race, with an array of hardened campaigners taking on a couple of unexposed sorts.

Heaven's Guest didn't run his race at Ascot last time, but he should have a big say now if he runs to the level that he did previously when winning cosily at Thirsk.

The day's nap vote goes to Catalyst in the opening fillies' maiden. Trained by the shrewd Golden, Co Tipperary-based pinhooker Paddy Twomey, this daughter of Makfi came clear of the rest when second to Outstanding on her bow here three weeks ago. If she can build on that now, she could prove hard to stop under Fran Berry.

In the handicap hurdle at Listowel, Mustadrik can defy a penalty for skating up at Kilbeggan yesterday, having won at Down Royal on Friday.

It's not hard to see him making a fair fist of it under rising star Jack Kennedy, given that his trainer Gordon Elliott won three races in six days last week with Eshtiaal, which cantered up at the same northern fixture in between successes at Ballinrobe and Tramore for three different riders.

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