Lynam going warning for Anthem
Last Updated: 10/08/14 3:08pm
Eddie Lynam has warned Anthem Alexander could bypass Sunday's Keeneland Phoenix Stakes should the ground prove too soft.
The Starspangledbanner filly has made quite an impression in her two most recent starts, winning a Tipperary maiden by seven lengths before holding off subsequent Super Sprint winner Tiggy Wiggy by a neck in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot.
However, she was only sixth on her racecourse debut on very testing ground at the Curragh in May over six furlongs, sparking some concern about potential underfoot conditions as she returns to that trip.
Lynam said: "[The form] has and hasn't worked out from Ascot. The second, Tiggy Wiggy, has since gone on and won but the third (Newsletter) has let the form down a bit so I suppose it's a case of six and two threes, it just depends how you read it but the Queen Mary is usually a good race.
"The filly has trained well, but there would have to be a question mark about her with the weather forecast. We've had some heavy rain in Ireland this morning and if the word 'soft' was in the going, I don't think she would run.
"We'll do what's right for the filly and I'll be discussing it with the owner. We've 48 hours to go so there's no need to make a decision yet. We'd be happy enough with the good to yielding it was at declaration time, but we will see with the weather.
"We're stepping her up to six furlongs and I would feel she might not get the trip and she wouldn't enjoy the ground if it were soft.
"She has been going well, though, and we're happy with her."
What looks a red-hot renewal has drawn a field of nine, with the Johnny Murtagh-trained Kasbah the only horse yet to win a race and the sole runner rated less than 100.
Lynam said: "It looks a very strong race with eight of the nine runners rated 100 or more. The filly (Beach Belle) looks very nice and Richard Hannon's horse (Kool Kompany) sets the bar for me after he won the Prix Robert Papin.
"Aidan O'Brien has a very good record in the race and he runs four while Capella Sansevero was second in the Coventry at Ascot, so it's a very strong race.
"She's as good as we can get her and if she can get some nice ground, I think she will run well."
Kool Kompany has already beaten a couple of this weekend's rivals and arrives fresh from his Group Two success in the Papin.
He was supplemented earlier in the week and Tim Palin, racing manager for owners Middleham Park Racing, believes the contest is shaping up into one of the best juvenile heats of the season.
He said: "Before we supplemented, I looked back at the record of recent races and it seemed there were one or two years when the race was less competitive, a few years where it was more so.
"In typical Middleham Park style, after ending up with Toormore in one of the hottest 2000 Guineas, we've now got Kool Kompany in a pretty warm renewal of this race.
"The colts have to give the fillies 3lb and of course that would be a concern, as 3lb is 3lb.
"However, on the ratings, our boy is on 111 and Anthem Alexander is on 105 so even with the 3lb, she would still have a bit to find, as would Beach Belle, but those kind of fillies can often find plenty of improvement going from their Listed win to a race like this."
Kool Kompany has shown his best form to date when racing prominently - but Palin insists the Jeremy colt does not have to make all to have a winning chance.
"The Robert Papin run shows that we don't have to lead, he just doesn't want settling out the back like we did at Ascot (when well beaten in the Coventry Stakes)," he said.
"He can handle any type of ground but being by Jeremy, we know he will handle cut as well as quicker ground.
"It's going to be fascinating to watch on Sunday, and after really bringing together the English, Irish and French form last time, we're kind of doing that again with the colts and fillies coming together.
"We will see if he's really a Group One horse on Sunday and after that we will have to work out what to do."
Aidan O'Brien has dominated over the last 10 years, fielding no less than six winners including the likes of George Washington, Holy Roman Emperor and Mastercraftsman. Recent Anglesey Stakes hero Dick Whittington heads his quartet with The Great War and War Envoy, who finished third behind Kool Kompany in the Railway Stakes, flying the flag for the colts.
O'Brien's also runs Curragh Group Three winner I Am Beautiful, one of three fillies in the race along with Alexander Anthem and Kevin Prendergast's unbeaten Beach Belle.
O'Brien told At The Races: "Dick Whittington has been a very solid horse. He travels with plenty of pace and gets it (the trip) well. The other two colts just haven't got it together yet but we are starting to think that they might.
"It looks a good race and it's important that those races are competitive, it's good for everyone."
The Ger Lyons-trained Coventry Stakes runner-up Capella Sansevero completes the line-up.