anthemAnthem Alexander, a filly who failed to sell when offered at public auction last year, proved best in today’s 21-runner Queen Mary Stakes.

 Led out unsold when bidding halted at 48,000gns, Anthem Alexander’s breeder, Noel O’Callaghan, had little choice but to put her in training with Eddie Lynam, but it led to a right Royal Ascot result.

Asked why he thought the big, good-looking daughter of Starspangledbanner had failed to find a new home, O’Callaghan said: “Maybe I was looking for too much money [the reserve he placed on her before her ring appearance]. Winning here is special with a home-bred filly, and she has two yearling half-sisters at home – a yearling by Dream Ahead and a foal by Acclamation.

“To be fair to Eddie Lynam, after two months, he was always exceptionally positive about this filly – he thinks that she is very good. He can certainly train sprinters, so it’s hopefully onwards and upwards.

“The first day she ran at the Curragh, it was purely educational, and Eddie was very confident on the second day at Tipperary, when she won by nearly eight or nine lengths. She didn’t win by eight or nine lengths today, but at least she won.

“The faster the ground, the better for her. Her dam wanted fast ground and her grand-dam only wanted fast ground, so the faster, the better. Hopefully, if we get some more dry weather, she will be out again.

“It’s my first Royal Ascot winner – I have had plenty of runners but no winners. It’s hard to win here and, when you win here, you have got to appreciate it and enjoy it.”

Lynam said: “Natural ability has got her home in front today. She’s got the right constitution, is a big strong mare and she travelled over well from Ireland. She’s very well bred – we’ll certainly enjoy her.

“Pat [Smullen] sat on her in May and was quite bullish about her and it’s all worked out. Interestingly, she’s by the sire [Starspangledbanner] that we beat in the Nunthorpe with Sole Power [who won yesterday’s King’s Stand Stakes for the second year running].

“She’s the real deal and she will get better. Noel O’Callaghan was very kind in giving her to me and he was very brave because everyone was trying to buy her off him. I am delighted for him because, when you refuse money for a horse, you need a bit of luck.”

Lynam is noted as a trainer of sprinters – witness Sole Power and Slade Power – and he joked: “I’ll keep her to five or six furlongs – after all I can only train sprinters. I should think the Cherry Hinton Stakes [at Newmarket next month] will be next.”

Sole Power holds an entry for Saturday’s Group One Golden Jubilee Stakes alongside Slade Power, but Lynam said: “He’s fine after yesterday and ate up, but it would be greedy to ask him to run again. He’s a bit tired.”


Smullen doubles up in first two races of second day of Royal Ascot

 Pat Smullen completed a 16.8/1 Royal Ascot double in the first two races on the second day of the Royal meeting after the neck success of Anthem Alexander in the Queen Mary Stakes. Despite being slow away, the 3-year-old travelled into the race nicely before sticking on in gutsy fashion to see off Tiggy Wiggy and Newsletter who finished second and third respectively. Smullen said: “She was slow away from the gates, it was just a lack of experience. “The gap was closing between Spanish Pipedream and Dangerous Moonlite so I had to take it and commit.”

“I was there plenty early enough and it can be daunting for a young two-year-old horse at Ascot, she had a look round but it was so encouraging to see how she stuck on when she got to the front. She got challenged but she kept finding and she was going away at the line. She’ll get six furlongs in the future, she’s a good filly.”

Smullen added: “She’s still a little bit green and there’s more improvement in her, she is a very good sprinter. She could’ve given up but she is 100% genuine. There was a tremendous amount of confidence in this filly and she was the sort of filly who we knew could win a Queen Mary. She’s bred for speed.”

The jockey also revealed how pleased connections were with the daughter of Starspangledbanner’s first run in public when she finished sixth at the Curragh on 24th May.  He commented: “We thought a lot of her when she first ran and it wasn’t the be all and end all when she finished sixth. It was very deep ground at the Curragh and she probably didn’t get the run of the race but I looked after her, minding her and we are reaping the rewards of that now.”

Smullen also reflected on a blistering start to day two of the meeting for himself: “It’s great. It’s just so tough here, this is the big stage and we’ve got a lot of horses but you go through a lot of horses to get horses good enough for Ascot. I just had to be a bit patient but thanks must go to Noel O’Callaghan (Owner) and Eddie Lynam (trainer) who have given me the ride. This is everything. Royal Ascot is the pinnacle, to ride two winners here in one day one after the other is a pretty good feeling.”



 Richard Hannon hates having seconds – it would almost be better said the trainer not to come so close in a race.

He said this after Tiggy Wiggy rallied in the final furlong but was beaten a neck by Anthem Alexander in the Group Two Queen Mary Stakes over five furlongs.

Hannon declared: “It is not enough to be second. I will be OK in five minutes. She ran a super race and went agonisingly close. She behaved very well and will probably step up to six furlongs in the Cherry Hinton. She is also in the Super Sprint.

“I did not enjoy watching the race – it was awful – she was second. It is such a big thing winning races – there is a massive difference between winning and coming second. I will have to take her home and make her go faster. She is a very sweet filly and the owners will have a lot of fun.

“I will be all right soon – you almost wish she was out at the back.”

Richard Hughes added: “Tiggy Wiggy struggled a bit at halfway. She ran on heavy ground last time at Sandown and she just came off the bit and hit a flat spot today for a furlong and a half. When I really got into her and made her go, fair dues to her because she put her head down.”

Irish trainer Ken Condon was thrilled with his third Newsletter, a 33/1 chance. He said: “She ran very well and we have always liked her. She was impressive on winning her maiden on slower ground at the Curragh. She was not at her best at Naas last time – for a few small reasons – and we drew a line through that run and did not lose faith.

“She has run a blinder here and I am sure she will go forward. The Cherry Hinton might come into the equation and she seems to love fast ground. She won’t go any further than six furlongs.”

Second race result

3.05pm Queen Mary Stakes (Group 2)

£100,000 total prize fund. For 2yo fillies, 5f. Weights 9st. Penalty value 1st £56,710.00 2nd £21,500.00 3rd £10,760.00 4th £5,360.00 5th £2,690.00 6th £1,350.00


1) ANTHEM ALEXANDER (IRE) (Noel Callaghan) Edward Lynam IRE 2-9-00 Pat Smullen [12] 9/4f

2) TIGGY WIGGY (IRE) (Potensis Ltd, Chris Giles, Merriebelle Stables) Richard Hannon 2-9-00 Richard Hughes [22] 7/2

3) NEWSLETTER (IRE) (Gravity Partnership) Ken Condon IRE t2-9-00 Shane Foley [20] 33/1

4) SPANISH PIPEDREAM (USA) (Hat Creek Racing) Wesley Ward USA bt2-9-00 Victor Espinoza [13]

5) LITTLEMISSBLAKENEY (The Walled Garden Partnership) Hugo Palmer 2-9-00 Wayne Lordan [7]

6) ARABIAN QUEEN (Jeff Smith) David Elsworth 2-9-00 Silvestre De Sousa [1]

7) LA CUESTA (IRE) (Richard & Lizzie Kelvin-Hughes) Jamie Osborne 2-9-00 Olivier Peslier [2]

8) HARRY’S DANCER (IRE) (Al Shaqab Racing & T Wood) John Quinn 2-9-00 Frankie Dettori [5]

9) PASTORAL GIRL (The Cool Silk Partnership) James Given 2-9-00 Graham Lee [21]

10) DANGEROUS MOONLITE (IRE) (Julie Wood) Richard Hannon 2-9-00 Ryan Moore [11]

11) ADULATION (IRE) (Cheveley Park Stud) William Haggas 2-9-00 Jimmy Fortune [9]

12) KO CACHE (IRE) (Straightline Construction Ltd) Keith Dalgleish 2-9-00 Tom Eaves [4]

13) COTO (IRE) (Matty Tynan) Matty Tynan IRE 2-9-00 Colin Keane [15]

14) AL FAREEJ (IRE) (Saif Ali) James Tate 2-9-00 Kieren Fallon [14]

15) CLOUDS REST (Racegoers Club Owners Group) Richard Fahey 2-9-00 Paul Hanagan [6]

16) LONDON LIFE (IRE) (P Bamford & C Mckee) Tom Dascombe 2-9-00 Richard Kingscote [3]

17) POLAR VORTEX (IRE) (Alan Craddock) Clive Cox 2-9-00 Adam Kirby [17]

18) LADY GEMINI  (James Henderson & Pat Hanly) Jo Hughes 2-9-00 Oisin Murphy [19]

19) LADY MARITA (IRE) (Teresa Kennedy) Stan Moore 2-9-00 Philip Prince [18]

20) BLUE AEGEAN (Godolphin) Charlie Appleby 2-9-00 William Buick [10]

21) AL GHUWARIYAH (IRE) (Mubarak Al Naemi) Kevin Ryan 2-9-00 Declan McDonogh [8]


21 ran

Non-runner: Free Entry (withdrawn at start)

Time: 59.15s

Distances: nk, ½, 1¾, hd, nse, 3, ½, hd, ½, ¾, ½, 2¼, ½, hd, ½, 2, 1¾, 1¾, 2, 3¼

Breeder: Mountarmstrong Stud

Breeding: Starspangledbanner (AUS) – Lady Alexander (IRE) (Night Shift (USA))

Tote      Win £3.20          Place £1.50 £1.60 £8.30 Exacta £10.60

Winning trainer: Lynam, Edward Born:  April 14, 1962 Based: Summerseat Stables, Clonee, Co Meath  Background: took out a licence to train in February, 1984, having previously split his time running a building firm and learning how to train racehorses under the watchful eye of Jim Bolger. Big Race Wins Include: Athasi Stakes (2013 Viztoria), Park Stakes (2008 Duff, 2013 Viztoria), International Stakes (2004 Red Feather), Temple Stakes (2011 Sole Power), Palace House Stakes (2013 & 2014 Sole Power), QIPCO British Champions Sprint (2013 Slade Power) First Group One Winner: Sole Power, Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes, York, August 20, 2010 Royal Ascot Wins (3):King’s Stand Stakes (2013 & 2014 Sole Power), Queen Mary Stakes (2014 Anthem Alexander) Wins In Britain (2007-2013): 1; 2; 1; 1; 1; 2; 4 Wins in Britain This Year: 3

Winning jockey:-Name: Smullen, Pat Date Of Birth: May 22, 1977 Background: Started out pony racing in Dundalk before joining Tommy Lacey when 16, spending the winters riding for Erwan Charpy in Dubai, where he was top jockey in 1997. Replaced Mick Kinane as stable jockey for Dermot Weld in 1999. Irish Champion jockey in 2000, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2008 & 2010. Married to trainer Frances Crowley, a sister-in-law of Aidan O’Brien. First winner: Vicosa, Dundalk, June 1993 British Classic Wins (1): 2000 Guineas (2003 Refuse To Bend) Irish Classic Wins (7): Irish 1,000 Guineas (2006 Nightime, 2010 Bethrah), Irish Derby (2004 Grey Swallow), Irish St Leger (2001, 2002, 2003 & 2004 Vinne Roe) Other Big Race Wins Include: Matron Stakes (2002 Dress To Thrill), Moyglare Stud Stakes (1997 Tarascon), National Stakes (2002 Refuse To Bend), Pretty Polly Stakes (2010 Chinese White), Tattersalls Gold Cup (2005 Grey Swallow, 2009 Casual Conquest), Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp (2007 Benbaun), Prix Royal-Oak (2001 Vinnie Roe), Sun Chariot Stakes (2002 Dress To Thrill), Breeders’ Cup Marathon (2008 Muhannak), Matriarch Stakes (2002 Dress To Thrill), Matron Stakes (2011 Emulous), QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup (2012 Rite Of Passage), QIPCO British Champions Filles & Mares Stakes (2012 Sapphire)  Royal Ascot wins (6): Gold Cup (2010 Rite Of Passage), Jersey Stakes (2014 Mustajeeb), Ribblesdale Stakes (2002 Irresistible Jewel, 2012 Princess Highway), Queen Mary Stakes (2014 Anthem Alexander), Wolferton Handicap ( 2003 In Time’s Eye) Wins in Britain (1998-2013): 0; 0, 1; 2; 2; 3; 2; 0; 1; 0; 0; 2; 1; 0; 6; 1 Wins In Britain in 2014: 2