Smullen sweet on Anthem chance
View from connections ahead of the Pinsent Masons Lowther Stakes at York on Thursday.
Pat Smullen would not swap his mount Anthem Alexander for any other filly in Thursday's Pinsent Masons Lowther Stakes at York.
Smullen admitted to being excited about the Eddie Lynam-trained filly from the very first day he sat on her and despite her debut defeat on soft ground, she lived up to early expectations by winning the Queen Mary over five furlongs at Royal Ascot.
That victory means she must carry a 3lb penalty against the likes of Tiggy Wiggy, who was just a neck behind at Ascot, and Albany Stakes winner Cursory Glance, but Smullen is oozing confidence as Anthem Alexander steps back up to six furlongs this time.
"I'm really looking forward to the race," said Smullen.
"She's excited me since the first day I sat on her.
"I can't see the extra furlong being an issue, she battled all the way to the line at Ascot and she was going on again.
"It's a very good renewal and she's got to give 3lb to everything, so we'll find out how good she really is.
"I rode her at home about seven to 10 days ago and I couldn't have been more pleased with her.
"I certainly wouldn't swap her, put it that way."
Richard Hannon's Tiggy Wiggy defied top weight when running out a six-length winner of the Super Sprint at Newbury on her most recent outing.
She steps up to six furlongs for the first time and while Hannon admits it is an unknown, he thinks her relaxed style of racing gives her every chance of staying the trip.
"On official ratings, Tiggy Wiggy is better than Ivawood taking into account the sex allowance and as she receives 3lb from Anthem Alexander, who beat her in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot, I suppose she is entitled to be favourite," Hannon told www.richardhannonracing.co.uk.
"Obviously, the six is the question mark, but she looked as if she wanted the longer distance when outpaced at halfway at Royal Ascot, and she also stayed the stiff five well enough when bolting up in the National Stakes at Sandown.
"This has been the target since she blitzed her rivals in the Super Sprint at Newbury last time and, though she has electric early pace, she definitely settles better than she did earlier in the season, so she gives herself every chance of staying the six."
Roger Varian is looking forward to getting Cursory Glance back in action.
Ultra-impressive in winning the Albany by two lengths from American raider Sunset Glow, she is the only unbeaten filly in the Group Two.
The form of the Albany has held up well, with the runner up landing a Grade Two at Del Mar while fifth-placed Osaila has won twice since, most recently claiming the Princess Margaret Stakes.
This has been on her agenda since the Royal meeting and although Varian admits he would not want the ground to turn very soft, there appears to be little chance of that happening.
"There's a bit of rain around and it just depends how much falls, she just wants really nice ground, nothing towards either extreme. It's very localised so they may miss it all," said Varian.
"She's in great form and looks fantastic.
"Obviously, this looks a very good race, a fantastic renewal and I'd have big respect for a few runners.
"The Albany form is holding up well, though, and that looks a strong race so I'm looking forward to seeing her in action once more."
Brian Meehan believes Sulaalaat deserves her place in the field after opening her account at the second time of asking at Nottingham by four lengths.
"She has always been highly regarded and followed a close second on her debut with a very easy win at Nottingham three weeks ago," Meehan told www.brianmeehan.com.
"This is a big step up from a maiden, but she has shown both with the manner of that success and in her homework that she is a very talented filly with a very good turn of foot and she deserves to try her luck at this level."
James Given's Pastoral Girl was second in the Princess Margaret and would not be without a chance while if David Evans' Patience Alexander bounced back to the form she showed at Royal Ascot rather than her last run at Haydock, she would be another with claims.