Future plans for Elarqam and Madhmoon are up in the air after both horses failed to run up expectations in the Qipco Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.
The Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned pair were joint second-favourites for the Group One feature on the opening day of Longines Irish Champions Weekend, but neither were able to land a blow as market leader Magical led him a one-two-three for Aidan O’Brien.
Having finished an excellent third behind Japan and Crystal Ocean in last month’s Juddmonte International at York, Mark Johnston’s Elarqam was supplemented for the Irish Champion, but could only finish seventh of the eight runners.
Kevin Prendergast’s Madhmoon – a three-times winner at Leopardstown and runner-up in the Investec Derby at Epsom earlier in the summer – was one place ahead of Elarqam in sixth.
The owner’s racing manager, Angus Gold, said: “Both horses were very disappointing, to be honest.
“Elarqam looked in a good position, but the others picked up and he didn’t. Jim (Crowley) said he was staying on again at the line and I think we will be looking to step him up in trip at some stage.
“Whether the track doesn’t really suit him, I’m not sure. Whatever the reason, he didn’t run as well as he did at York, unfortunately.
“Madhmoon didn’t run too badly. Chris (Hayes) just said he felt a bit flat, so maybe he’s had enough for the year. I think he’ll probably have a break now, but we’ll see.
“We haven’t made any plans for either of them just yet.”