Intilaaq was a big disappointment in the Group 3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown. Given an overly aggressive ride on his first run since the end of March, Roger Varian’s four year old dropped away tamely inside the final quarter of a mile. He is better than he showed here and, while the tactics seemingly backfired, he almost certainly prefers quicker ground than they encountered at the Esher track (some jockeys believed it rode on the slow side on the round course).
The ten furlongs event went the way of Time Test, who produced a terrific performance under a Group 2 penalty. Last year’s Royal Ascot winner had endured a far from ideal preparation having travelled to Ireland last weekend for the Tattersalls Gold Cup only to be withdrawn on account of slow ground. Held up by Ryan Moore, he produced a battling display to get the better of Western Hymn conceding weight to John Gosden’s charge. The runner-up is a genuine Group 2 horse and is a three times course winner, including this event twelve months ago. The Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot is Time Test’s next assignment and I feel he will make a major impact.
Royal Artillery could only finish fourth of five in the Listed Heron Stakes behind Zonderland but I think he will be a different proposition next time. Fitted with a tongue tie for the first time, John Gosden’s colt underwent a couple of minor wind operations during the winter and was almost certainly in need of the run here. He will also benefit from a step up to ten furlongs being out of a Dynaformer mare.
The Unraced Three Year Olds section in Ahead On The Flat has already unearthed Oaks bound Skiffle and her stablemate Lusory (11/4) is also highlighted in the same feature. The well bred son of Shamardal made a winning start to his career in the one mile maiden at Haydock. Out of the high-class mare Playful Act, he won with something in hand at the Merseyside track and is an interesting prospect.
I have started work on the Royal Ascot Update, which will be emailed to clients on the Sunday (12th June) before the meeting. Please head to the Publications section of the site if you would like to order a copy. Don’t forget last year’s Update produced 11 winners over the five days, including Amazing Maria (advised @ 33/1) and the first three home in the Royal Hunt Cup.
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