Elarqam bidding to continue resurgence in Gala Stakes

Sandown assignment follows fine third at Royal Ascot

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Elarqam will need to concede weight to all his six rivals in the Davies Insurance Services Gala Stakes at Sandown on Friday.

Mark Johnston’s Frankel colt, who was unbeaten at two before failing to run up to that form last year, has returned to something like his best this season.

Fourth in a red-hot renewal of the Earl of Sefton Stakes at Newmarket on his return, he won with ease at Goodwood before finishing third to Addeybb in the Wolferton Stakes at Royal Ascot.

“It’s nice that he’s strung two very good runs together,” said assistant trainer Charlie Johnston.

“The huge amount of rain that fell at Ascot aided the winner and went against us, so I think in conditions that didn’t play to his strengths he ran a very good race.

“All those that finished around him had competed at Group One level, so it was a very good run.

“We’re looking towards the Sky Bet York Stakes, but that’s at the end of the month, so we thought it was long enough between runs, he’d come out of Ascot well and this looked a good opportunity for him.”

John Gosden runs lightly-raced November Handicap winner Royal Line, while Charlie Appleby is represented by both First Nation and Oasis Charm.

Elsewhere on the card, Karl Burke is hoping Rayong has more fortune in the Chasemore Farm Dragon Stakes than at Royal Ascot.

The Mayson colt was just beginning his run in the Windsor Castle when he met trouble in running and his race was over.

While Burke would prefer softer ground, Rayong did win on a quicker surface, on his debut at Carlisle.

“He was knocked sideways at Ascot. I’m not saying he’d have definitely won, but he’d have gone very close,” said Burke.

“It was a shame because with the ground (soft) coming right for him, being by Mayson, everything was perfect. The ground will probably be a bit quick for him at Sandown, but he’s in good form and we’ve got to give him a go.

“It was quick enough at Carlisle, but it was a lot easier race, although he did handle it. He’ll handle it, but whether he’s at his best on it, only time will tell.

“He’ll stay six furlongs, but he’s got good speed and a good turn of foot.”

Johnston’s Makyon ran in the Coventry Stakes at Ascot and took the field along at a fair lick until fading close home, and drops in trip this time.

Johnston added: “He’s never struck me physically as an out-and-out five furlong horse and all his previous form is over six, but he looked to have a lot of the Coventry field in trouble between the two and the one.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes back up to six in the not too distant future, but he looks to have plenty of speed to cope with coming back to five.

“He’s not got a great draw out in seven – you’d have to have plenty of respect for the filly at the bottom (Liberty Beach) and giving her weight will be tough, but I’d be disappointed if he wasn’t in the frame at least.”

John Quinn’s Liberty Beach finished fourth in the Queen Mary, one place ahead of Simon Crisford’s Al Raya, who also runs.

Elarqam bidding to continue resurgence in Gala Stakes
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