ELARQAM is reported fit and ready to return to the fray in the Sky Bet York Stakes on Knavesmire today.
The impeccably-bred Yorkshire colt, by Frankel out of dual Classic winner Attraction, bids to kick-start his three-year-old campaign in this Group Two after being absent since disappointing in the Irish 2,000 Guineas.
He has been freshened up and this looks a good spot for him. His Guineas run was very good and, hopefully, he can get back on track.Richard Hills
Elarqam was found to have been off-colour afterwards but is 100 per cent again now and connections are looking forward to seeing him back in action and hopefully making up for lost time.
Hopes had been high for Middleham trainer Mark Johnston’s charge, who had won both his starts as a juvenile before finishing fourth to Saxon Warrior in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on his seasonal debut.
Richard Hills, assistant racing manager to owner Hamdan Al Maktoum, said: “After he disappointed in Ireland, he was thoroughly checked over. He was found to have a respiratory problem – a dirty scope – which was treated and has cleared up. He has been freshened up and this looks a good spot for him. His Guineas run was very good and, hopefully, he can get back on track.”
Connections feel the colt should be suited by the step up in distance and already have one eye on the Group One Juddmonte International Stakes back at York next month.
“The step up to a mile-and-a-quarter shouldn’t pose any problems and he has won at the track before,” added Hills. “If all goes to plan on Saturday, we would look at the Juddmonte and other big autumn targets.”
Richard Fahey was disappointed Forest Ranger found the step up to Group One company too much in the Coral-Eclipse but is hoping Tony Hamilton’s mount will be more at home in this race after good wins at Newmarket and Chester earlier in the season.
“He needs to bounce back,” said Malton-based Fahey. “You’d have to say he was probably not good enough in the Eclipse, but he was disappointing as well.
“He probably ran a bit below-par, but he just wasn’t good enough. He has a penalty to carry and it’s going to be tough for him.”
Michael Bell, meanwhile, is hoping The Queen’s Fabricate can make amends for a slightly disappointing run in the Wolferton Stakes at Royal Ascot.
“Fabricate has been in good form since Royal Ascot, where he ran slightly below-par,” said the trainer whose Big Oramnge won last year’s Ascot Gold Cup.
“His run behind Crystal Ocean is very good form and if he runs to that sort of level, he should give a good account of himself. We are hoping, unlike most people, that the rain stays away.”