York Stakes likely to be the next port of call for Elarqam

ELARQAM may be set for a second tilt at the Sky Bet York Stakes following his fine effort in defeat at Royal Ascot.

The Sky Bet York Stakes is a likely target for Mark Johnson's Elarqam, pictured winning at Newmarket under Jim Crowley.

A son of Frankel out of the brilliant mare Attraction, Middleham trainer Mark Johnston’s colt had plenty to live up to on breeding, but could hardly have made a better start after registering two impressive wins as a juvenile.

His three-year-old campaign was underwhelming, but he has bounced back in 2019 – winning the Listed Festival Stakes at Goodwood on his penultimate start before finishing third behind Addeybb in the Wolferton Stakes.

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Elarqam was a close-up third behind Thundering Blue when a hot favourite for last season’s York Stakes – and Angus Gold, racing manager to owner-breeder Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, considers the Group Two contest on July 27 as a likely next port of call.

Trainer, Mark Johnston. PIC: Ben Duffy/SWpix.com

“I thought he ran nearly his best race at Ascot. I thought he would handle the ground, but Jim (Crowley) was adamant he didn’t like it that soft,” said Gold.

“One or two people have said maybe he didn’t stay, but Jim said that was not the case – and it was purely the ground. I’ve only spoken briefly to Mark, but we won’t go in too deep next time. I would think the York Stakes is eminently possible. That is exactly the sort of race he would be suited to. I think that is the right level – so with any luck, hopefully we will go back there.”

In other racing news, Who Dares Wins is likely to miss York’s Ebor handicap next month after getting up in the last stride to win the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle for trainer Alan King and jockey Tom Marquand and deny the locally-tained Dubawi Fifty.

“He’s been a marvellous horse for us. He’s been placed at Cheltenham and Aintree, and in three Chester Cups. He’ll be a very exciting novice chaser as well – that’s the plan for the autumn,” said King, one of the country’s top National Hunt trainers. “I don’t think he’d be quick enough for the Ebor, but he could go for the Cesarewitch if we get a bit of dig in the ground.”

Angus Gold, racing manager of Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum. PIC: PA

Marquand said: “This horse has had his big day coming for a long time. I was a 5lb claimer when I first won on him, and he’s come here and won a Northumberland Plate. I was always pretty confident I was going to get there.”

And Invincible Army bounced back from his Royal Ascot “blip” to win the Chipchase Stakes for Leyburn jockey PJ McDonald, and Yorkshire-born trainer James Tate, a week after finishing seventh to Blue Point in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.

Jockey, Jim Crowley. PIC: Tim Goode/PA Wire