Western Hymn to call the tune again in Brigadier Gerard Stakes
David Metcalf | May 26, 2016
Western Hymn primed to defend Brigadier Gerard crown
The John Gosden trained gelding started last season in fine form, winning the Group 3 Gordon Richards’ Stakes over course and distance before following up with a game head success over Arab Spring in this contest.
Western Hymn then ran a blinder when stepped up into Group 1 company and finishing third to Free Eagle in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, only getting outpaced inside the final furlong to be beaten 2 3/4 lengths.
Royal Ascot form strong
That form is extremely strong in the context of this contest, and the five-year-old was also far from disgraced on his final start of the campaign when third to brilliant stable companion Golden Horn in the Group 1 Coral-Eclipse.
Although turned over at odds-on on seasonal reappearance when runner-up in the Group 3 Gordon Richards Stakes at this track, Western Hymn looked in need of the run beforehand and raced keenly on rain softened ground before weakening close home to be beaten just over a length.
The son of High Chaparral then seemed ill at ease around the tight turns of Chester when a length runner-up to Cannock Chase in the Group 3 Huxley Stakes when last seen in action, allowing the winner first run before gaining all the way to the line up the home straight.
Given how the race panned out it was a solid effort, and the return to this venue where he has won three times and been placed twice in five starts is a big plus.
Intilaaq open to further improvement
The Roger Varian trained colt was ultra-impressive when cruising clear to beat Master Carpenter by five lengths in a Group 3 at Haydock last August, but could never get competitive when eighth of 15 in the Group 1 Dubai Turf at Meydan when last seen in action back in March.
Intalaaq is far better than he showed in the latter, has the potential to make up into a Group 1 performer this season, and looks sure to give Western Hymn plenty to think about if ready to roll on his first start for 61 days.
Time Test faces tough task
Time Test’s Group 2 win in the Joel Stakes at Newmarket last September sets the standard , but he has to give 5lb to his main market rivals as a result of that success.
That is no easy ask on his first start of the season, and the Roger Chalrton trained colt comes into the contest on the back of a trip to Ireland for Sunday’s Tattersalls Gold Cup where he was pulled-out on account of the soft ground.
It makes for far from ideal preparation for what is a high-class renewal of this race, and Time Test also has a lengthy absence to overcome and looks opposable despite the fact that he is undoubtedly a top class animal and looks capable of making an impact at Group 1 level.
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Coral’s top tip: Western Hymn has a terrific record at the track and looks worth a wager to land back-to-back runnings of the Brigadier Gerard. Intilaaq is feared most ahead of Time Test.