Anthem looks set to call the tune

Anthem Alexander must be strongly fancied to make a successful seasonal debut in the Group 3 Racing Post Lacken Stakes in Naas, unless the expected rain causes a serious deterioration in ground conditions.

The Eddie Lynam-trained filly, winner of the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot as a juvenile, competed at the highest level through last season, locking horns with Tiggy Wiggy on three occasions.

Third behind Richard Hannon’s filly and subsequent Moyglare winner Cursory Glance in the Lowther Stakes in York, she was beaten three-quarters of a length by Tiggy Wiggy in the Cheveley Park on her final start as a two-year-old.

Reportedly in good shape, Anthem Alexander’s return has been delayed by unfavourably soft ground. And, if conditions remain good, she might prove too strong for Toscanini, runner-up to Gleneagles in the National Stakes last September and successful on his recent return in Navan.

Today’s meeting will provide a vital pre-Ascot guide to the relative strengths of the Irish and British two-year-olds and Richard Fahey’s unbeaten colt Birchwood should prove tough to beat in the Coolmore War Command Rochestown Stakes.

This fellow followed-up his debut win at Doncaster by beating subsequent winners Beaverbrook and Eltezam in Newbury and, subsequently purchased by Godolphin, might prove too strong for Ger Lyons’ course and distance winner Argentero, which failed to give 4lb. to Round Two last time, form boosted when his conqueror won the Marble Hill at the Curragh.

In the Coolmore Stud Fillies Sprint Stakes, Kevin Prendergast’s Rue Bonaparte might not cope with the Richard Hannon-trained Great Page, a winner at Windsor before being turned over, at 1/3, by her stable-companion Illuminate in Salisburylast time.

Listowel stages the second stage of its traditional Whit meeting and Willie Mullins will be expected to compete a first and last race double with hurdling debutant Thomas Hobson and Au Quart De Tour.

A four-time winner for John Gosden, culminating with a victory off 97 at Doncaster, Thomas Hobson is preferred to Solatentif in the John B Keane Maiden Hurdle.

Having contested competitive races in Cheltenham, Fairyhouse and Punchestown since his debut success at Fairyhouse in January, Au Quart De Tour sets the standard in the bumper

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