Phoenix Sprint Success Destined For Alexander
The second of Sunday’s two big sprints at the Curragh comes at 4.20pm, courtesy of the Group 3 Phoenix Sprint Stakes, which has attracted some classy sorts from both sides of the Irish Sea.
3yo’s To Hit Back?
One such runner is Tim Easterby’s 3yo, Mattmu, a Group 2 winner in France last autumn, prior to a career best second in a Group 3 at Newcastle last time (6f, good). This improving colt only gave way near the line that day and a repeat on Sunday could be good enough.
Another 3yo in form is Michael Halford’s Toscanini beaten just under 2l in a Group 3 at Royal Ascot (7f, good to firm), prior to a confidence booster back at 6f last month. Considering he was beaten just 2l by Gleneagles here last year, Toscanini certainly has the ability.
A fellow 3yo who has a bit more to prove is Edward Lynam’s Fort Del Oro who makes her Group debut having quickened nicely to win her maiden over C&D two months ago (yielding). She remains unexposed and could be anything.
Anthem To Find Right Tune?
But, what of her more experienced stablemate, Anthem Alexander, who takes a step down in class following two terrific efforts in Group 1 company?
Prior to that, she won a Group 3 sprint at Naas in style and her form suggests a top three place at least.
However, Anthem Alexander, along with her fellow 3yo’s will need to be good considering the poor record of that age-group in this…
Of the last 10 Phoenix Sprint Stakes winners…
9 were 4-6yo’s
9 were drawn in stalls 4-8
9 were Irish-bred
9 ran during the previous 21-60 days
8 were non-favourites
8 ran over 6f last time
8 arrived via Ascot, Newmarket or the Curragh
7 won during their last three runs
M Halford won it twice
Older Runners Value?
The fact older runners have dominated 3yo’s in this suggests there could be value via the third of Lynam’s runners in the 7yo, Balmont Mast, beaten 3l by Gordon Lord Byron over C&D two runs ago. Another 7yo, Russian Soul, needs respecting having won a Group 3 over C&D in 2013, and his handicap win at Dundalk two runs ago suggests he is no back number.
Also no back number is the 8yo, Maarek, who was beaten only 1l in a Group 2 when last seen over C&D in May. He can go well after a break and looks sure to run his race.
An interesting clash between the Classic generation and older runners, though with five 3yo’s in the line-up this year, it could be worth favouring them, especially Anthem Alexander. This filly has been running out of her skin against better rivals than she meets on Sunday, and can pick up her second Group 3 of the season.