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Naas to offer royal pointer





The Willie Mullins-trained Simenon will have his preparations upped for a tilt at the Gold Cup at next month's Royal Ascot when running at Sandown this evening, but Naas Racecourse are looking forward to welcoming some other leading contenders for their Bank Holiday Monday meeting.

Entries were revealed yesterday for the fixture at Woodlands Park and there was indeed a previous Royal Ascot winner among them with Eddie Lynam's Anthem Alexander among the 16 entries in the Group Three Lacken Stakes due to be run over six-furlongs.

Last season's Queen Mary winner and Group One runner-up may well begin her season on Monday, having previously being withdrawn from the same track last month due to the change in ground conditions.

Also among the 16 is the Aidan O'Brien-trained Dick Whittington, who tops the ratings, while Mick Halford's Toscanini is set to try and follow up his recent Navan success ahead of returning to the Royal meeting where he was second last season.

Halford feels Monday's race is a natural progression for the three-year-old, who carries the famous Godolphin colours: "It was nice to get his head in front and give him a bit of confidence and the plan now is to go to Naas on Monday for the Lacken Stakes. He had some terrific two-year-old form right the way through and it's difficult for him when they're running at that sort of level.

"The race on Monday is a Group Three for three-year-olds, so we're looking forward to it."

Also included in the €65,000 feature are a couple of interesting British entries including Henry Candy's unbeaten gelding Limato.

Last weekend's Curragh maiden winner Air Force Blue is an interesting entry for Monday's Coolmore War Command Rochestown Stakes over six-furlongs.

The Aidan O'Brien-trained colt made a likeable debut by making all the running last weekend and he is one of three Ballydoyle-trained entries, including newcomers Air Vice Marshal and Johannes Vermeer.


Other winners included in the listed contest are Jim Bolger's Ard San Aer, the Ger Lyons trained Argentero and David Wachman's Auld Enemy.

Eight previous winners appear among the list of fillies entered for the listed Coolmore Stud EBF Sprint Stakes with Richard Hannon, Richard Fahey and Karl Burke all considering sending over runners.

Impressive Dundalk victor Birdcage could line up for Ger Lyons and the Aidan O'Brien-trained filly Ballydoyle is also a possible runner.

Meanwhile, O'Brien has left just three in contention for this weekend's French Derby with War Envoy, Cape Clear Island and Highland Reel among the latest list of forfeits yesterday.