Horses To Follow » Time Test

Time Test

Time Test put up a really good performance to win the Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown on Thursday. He was aided by the fast pace that Intilaaq and Scottish set between them, but he was giving 5lb to all his rivals, and he still had to go and win his race, which he did, impressively.

Weak in the market beforehand, Roger Charlton’s horse settled nicely at the back of the field behind that strong pace. Travelling well in rear at the top of the home straight, he moved through his field easily, and he angled towards the outside as Intilaaq weakened and Western Hymn went for home. John Gosden’s horse is a classy horse who was well backed, who is at his best at this time of year and who loves Sandown – he won this race last year – so it was always going to take a fair effort to beat him. Time Test engaged in battle with him at the furlong pole, and he gradually wore him down inside the final 200 yards, going on to win by just a neck in the end and clocking a really impressive time, just 0.09secs/furlong slower than Racing Post standard and by far the fastest time on a high-class evening’s racing. It was a high-class effort by Prince Khalid Abdullah’s horse, made all the more meritorious by the fact that he was giving 5lb to a highly-talented rival.

Time Test was a really progressive three-year-old last season. After winning the London Gold Cup at Newbury, he stepped forward from that to win the Tercentenary Stakes at Royal Ascot, and he wasn’t disgraced when biting off plenty in the Juddmonte International. He proved that he was none the worse for that experience by landing the Group 2 Joel Stakes at Newmarket in September.

He did disappoint on his final run of the season in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, but the ground was softer than ideal and not much went right for him there and, anyway, you can always forgive a European horse a poor run in a Breeders’ Cup heat at the end of the season.

He did well to win on Thursday. Not only was he racing for the first time this season, but he had been over and back to Ireland at the weekend, a tilt at the Tattersalls Gold Cup aborted at the 11th hour because of the soft ground. And the fact that he was weak in the pre-race market on Thursday suggests that perhaps paddock judges were not overly impressed with him in the preliminaries.

This win opens up lots of options for him now, he could easily be a Group 1 horse this season. It looks like 10 furlongs is his trip more than a mile, so it looks like the Prince of Wales’s Stakes is the race for him at Royal Ascot, not the Queen Anne. He would have to take on the brilliant-looking Prix d’Ispahan winner A Shin Hikari there if he took his chance in it, but, unlike the Japanese horse, he is proved over the course and distance. He shouldn’t run scared, it is the correct race for him and he deserves to take his chance in it.

26th May 2016