Elarqam camp ponder Irish Champion Stakes

Johnston may supplement after fine third in Juddmonte

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Mark Johnston is considering the possibility of Elarqam being supplemented for the Qipco Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.

After producing a career-best performance to land the York Stakes on his penultimate start, the son of Frankel was added to the field for last week’s Juddmonte International on the Knavesmire.

Johnston’s charge proved his top-level capabilities with a tremendous effort to finish a close-up third behind Japan and Crystal Ocean – and might well have been even closer but for encountering trouble in running.

The Champion Stakes at Ascot in October remains a big aim, but Elarqam could first take in the Irish equivalent on September 14.

Johnston told Sky Sports Racing: “We had him in the Irish Champion and took him out earlier in the year, but Sheikh Hamdan (Al Maktoum, owner) said at the time that if necessary we could always put him back in, so we won’t disregard that – we will look at the race.

“The Champion Stakes is the obvious long-term target. But we feel he’s benefited this year from keeping him on the go, so it would be quite nice to give him a race each month until the end of the season.”

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