Elarqam out to sparkle in Sovereign Stakes at Salisbury

Mark Johnston’s Frankel colt one of six runners in Group Three

  • Wednesday 15 August
  • News
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Connections of Elarqam hope the one-time Classic contender can finally get his three-year-old career going with victory in the Tattersalls Sovereign Stakes at Salisbury on Thursday.

The impeccably-bred son of Frankel out of Attraction had a far-from-smooth preparation for the 2000 Guineas but still ran creditably to finish fourth behind Saxon Warrior.

He disappointed in the Irish equivalent but was found not to be 100 per cent afterwards and was just beaten by Thundering Blue when stepped up to a mile and a quarter for the Sky Bet York Stakes on his latest start.

Charlie Johnston, assistant trainer to his father Mark, said: “It was great to get him out at York a couple of weeks ago. Slightly frustrating as it looked like had won it for most of the straight, but the petrol gauge just ran empty that last 150 yards.

“It was a solid return to action, though, even if it was slightly disappointing not to win.

“We are dropping back to a mile off the back of that run which I hope will be OK.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we go back to a mile and a quarter later in the year. This, though, looks like a good next spot for him.

“There are six runners and he is top-rated, so it would be nice to get him back in the winner’s enclosure.”

Zonderland’s last success came in this race in 2016 but after a couple of good efforts straight after that, the five-year-old entire has yet to hit top form this term.

However, his trainer Clive Cox believes a revival could be on the cards.

“Zonderland’s form last year was very good. This is a race he has won in the past so he likes the track,” said the Lambourn handler.

“Hopefully we can take a step forward after a couple of tame efforts so far this year.

“He gives me the impression he’s back on the boil and we’re very happy coming in here. Obviously his course form is very good having won this a couple of years ago.

“If you take his best form with Lightning Spear last year in the Celebration Mile we still think he’s a horse worthy of succeeding at this level.”

The oldest horse in the line-up is Hathal, who has his first run for Jamie Osborne since being moved from the William Haggas yard.

He was three-quarters of a length behind Zonderland when third in the Celebration Mile. Richard Hannon’s Oh This Is Us, who was fourth that day, reopposes.

Completing the field are Andrew Balding’s South Seas and French raider Plumatic, trained by Andre Fabre.

Elarqam out to sparkle in Sovereign Stakes at Salisbury

Salisbury 16:10, 16 August 2018

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