Mark Johnston eyeing French Derby run with Elarqam

Middleham handler also outlines Irish 2,000 Guineas option

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Mark Johnston feels the French Derby is the “obvious” choice for Elarqam’s next race.

The regally-bred colt lost his unbeaten record when fourth in the 2000 Guineas on Saturday.

While the Irish Guineas has not been ruled out, Johnston will not consider the Dante Stakes at York as he feels it will come too soon.

“A lot of people were saying he ran a great race. He ran well but you can never be over the moon with fourth, the same as you can never be over the moon with second,” said the Middleham handler.

“Three out he was travelling as well as anything and it looked like he might win it. When Jim (Crowley) asked him to go, there was a bit of a delay and he lost a bit of ground then.

“He was making up ground close to the line hand over fist. The first reaction was that he needs to step up in trip, but if you ran it again you would expect him to come on for the race.

“Whether we could get close to the winner who knows, but you wouldn’t be afraid of taking on the second and third or anything that was behind him.

“I think the jury is out as to where he will go next, it could be the Irish 2,000 Guineas or the French Derby.

“I couldn’t say which race he would go for as that would be up to connections and Sheikh Hamdan has not really had a say on it yet at all. The only thing we can say is that he won’t run in the Dante as that comes too soon.

“I think the positive thing we established is that he is a Group One horse, no doubt at all. It is Group Ones for the forseeable future.

“I think we will need to look at those two races, but I think the obvious choice is probably the French Derby. It’s a mile and a quarter race that is often won by sharp horses.”

Mark Johnston eyeing French Derby run with Elarqam
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