Johnston's confidence in Elarqam for 2000 Guineas is justified

MARK JOHNSTON is hopeful that Elarqam can overcome his relative inexperience in Saturday's Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket '“ the first Classic of the 2018 Flat season.

Elarqam will represent Mark Johnston in Saturday's 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.

The colt won both his starts last season and enjoyed a racecourse gallop at Newmarket last month under jockey Jim Crowley.

Elarqam’s pedigree is eyecatching – he was sired by the legendary Frankel out of Johnston’s 1000 Guineas heroine Attraction.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“The only doubt maybe is that he’s not as experienced as some of his rivals,” said Johnston’s son and assistant Charlie.

“He’s had two runs and that’s part of the reason he’s been to Newmarket for a racecourse gallop, to get a bit more experience and look around the place.

“We are very confident in our horse and we wouldn’t swap him for anything.”

The Middleham stable is also due to be represented by Cardsharp in a race in which Aidan O’Brien could be four-handed as the dominant Ballydoyle trainer bids to win the race for a ninth time.

O’Brien is already the winning-most trainer in the colts’ Classic and Gustav Klimt, winner of the 2,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown on his reappearance, heads his strong team.

Last season’s Superlative Stakes scorer is supported by Racing Post Trophy victor Saxon Warrior, US Navy Flag, who has disappointed twice since landing the Dewhurst Stakes in October, and Murillo.

O’Brien’s Happily heds the field for Sunday’s Qipco 1000 Guineas for fillies which is set to feature Group One winner Laurens – the mount of jockey PJ McDonald – from the Leyburn yard of Karl Burke.

“She’s a very talented horse. She’s always had a great coat on her all winter. She never lost that sheen to her,” said Burke who is seeking his first Classic win.

“She’s always been a fantastic physical specimen.”