Tuesday 23 January 2018

Anthem Alexander on song for Ascot in Naas sprint

Anthem Alexander
Anthem Alexander

Thomas Kelly

The weather may have made it feel more like January than June for Royal Ascot trials day at Naas, but there were plenty of clues on offer for those who braved the elements, not least in the shape of Anthem Alexander.

Making her seasonal debut in the Racing Post Lacken Stakes, Eddie Lynam's filly (5/2) threw down a challenge to The Happy Prince a furlong out and Pat Smullen rode her out to score by a length.

As for her Ascot targets, Lynam indicated that last year's Queen Mary heroine would be entered for the Commonwealth and King's Stand Stakes.

The trainer had struck earlier when Ortiga (9/1) broke her duck at the sixth time of asking in the fillies' maiden under Gary Carroll.

Richard Hannon's Great Page got her big-race aspirations back on track with an impressive win in the Coolmore Stud EBF Fillies' Sprint Stakes.

Having taken the eye with a winning debut at Windsor, she was then beaten by stablemate Illuminate just 13 days later at Salisbury.

Stepping up to six furlongs for a Listed race which has a good record of producing a smart winner or two, the winner looked in a different league as Sean Levey moved through stylishly before kicking three lengths clear of Jim Bolger's Special Focus.

Another raider obliged in the Owenstown Stud Stakes as Richard Fahey's Heaven's Guest gained his first success at Listed level under James Doyle. Sent off the 2/1 favourite, he battled on well to beat Lat Hawill by half a length.

Ger Lyons and Colin Keane combined to claim the Rochestown Stakes with Argentero (15/8). The son of Zoffany got the better of the highly-fancied Fahey raider Birchwood inside the final furlong before pulling two lengths clear of Galway Bay.

Andy Oliver's Vitally Important (10/1) returned to winning ways by landing the seven-furlong handicap in the hands of Fran Berry, while there was a thrilling finish to the closing one-mile handicap as Denise Foster's well-backed Lily's Rainbow (4/1) got up close home under Wayne Lordan to beat Whip Up A Frenzy by a half-length.

Irish Independent

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