Intilaaq can secure his place in Roger Varian’s Royal Ascot team by landing the Brigadier Gerard Stakes, the feature event of Sandown’s fantastic evening meeting.
The four-year-old has always been held in high regard by the Newmarket handler, as evidenced by Varian’s decision to switch him straight up to last year’s 2000 Guineas after winning a Newbury maiden last April.
That decision did not pay off as he was well beaten by Gleneagles and he took a bit of time to get over that Classic outing, not reappearing until last July when he was an easy winner of a Listed event at Newbury.
A Group Three outing seemed a natural progression from there and Intilaaq duly made quite a splash when triumphing by five lengths at Haydock, prompting plenty of talk about a possible Champion Stakes run, although he eventually bypassed the race after a lacklustre gallop.
Connections’ patience could finally come to fruition this term, as while Intilaaq’s debut effort in the Dubai Turf was not exactly eyecatching, he was actually only beaten just under four lengths in eighth by Real Steel.
The nine furlongs that day may well have been a touch sharp and it was his first outing in seven months, so he is entitled to make more than a little progress for the run.
Intilaaq is only rated 1lb inferior to Time Test but the conditions of the race mean he is 5lb better off, which certainly puts him in the driving seat.
Max Dynamite has his first run since finishing second in the Melbourne Cup last November and he appears head and shoulders above the rest in the Henry II Stakes.
The six-year-old has mixed and matched on the Flat and over jumps but his sights appear likely to be trained on the top staying events this term following an excellent 2015 campaign.
Haydock: 2.00 Northern Thunder, 2.30 Mia Cara, 3.00 Point North, 3.30 Fashion Parade, 4.00 Wayside Magic, 4.30 The Yank.
Sandown: 6.00 Bridge Of Sighs, 6.35 Mehmas, 7.05 Max Dynamite, 7.40 INTILAAQ (NAP), 8.15 Zonderland, 8.45 Heatstroke.
Bangor: 2.10 Kilty Caul, 2.40 Nefyn Bay, 3.10 Grove Silver, 3.40 Charlie Cook, 4.10 Maller Tree, 4.40 Red Type.
Chelmsford: 2.20 Kreb’s Cycle, 2.50 Weld Arab, 3.20 Daring Day, 3.50 Titan Goddess, 4.20 Go On Gal, 4.50 Cadland Lad, 5.20 Not Your Call.
Newcastle: 6.25 Tallinski, 6.55 Miss Ranger, 7.30 Exoteric, 8.05 Hard To Handel, 8.35 Time Check, 9.05 Windforpower.
Double: Intilaaq and Max Dynamite.