Elarqam on the comeback trail as he takes a step up in trip at York
Expert Eye to be added to Sussex Stakes mix
Elarqam, who was considered a leading Classic hope at the start of the season but has not been seen since disappointing in the Irish 2,000 Guineas, is on course to return to action over a new trip in the Sky Bet York Stakes on Saturday after overcoming a respiratory infection.
Hamdan Al Maktoum's impeccably bred son of Frankel and Attraction did not quite live up to trainer Mark Johnston's hopes when finishing fourth in the Qipco 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket on his seasonal reappearance before taking a sizeable step backwards in the Tattersalls-sponsored Irish version at the Curragh three weeks later.
Elarqam underwent a thorough medical check after finishing a never-threatening seven and a half lengths adrift of Romanised in sixth at the Curragh and has been given plenty of time to regain his form before lining up in Saturday's Group 2.
Johnston said: "All being well he's an intended runner. He did have a respiratory infection. Whether that had any bearing on his performance at the Curragh I don’t know, but we’ve taken a bit of time to get that cleared up and to be happy that he's 100 per cent. All seems to be well now."
The sponsors make Elarqam the 7-4 favourite for his first attempt over the extended mile-and-a-quarter trip – the same course and distance as next month's Juddmonte International.
Asked about the demands of going beyond a mile for the first time, Johnston said: "It’s something we have always had in our mind. Even before the Guineas we thought this horse would be stepping up in trip before the season was out and it is coming sooner rather than later.
"I think he'll be fit to do himself justice. We've stepped down in grade – only a little bit mind – and all being well he'll be back on the Group 1 trail following this."
Expert Eye to be supplemented for Sussex
Impressive Jersey Stakes winner Expert Eye will be supplemented for the Group 1 Qatar Sussex Stakes at the cost of £70,000.
The Juddmonte-owned colt will be ridden by James Doyle at Goodwood next Wednesday.
He was successful on his only start at the track, when running out a hugely impressive winner of the Group 2 Vintage Stakes last year.
Forfeits for the £1 million mile highlight – for which Expert Eye is the general 7-2 second favourite – will be revealed on Thursday.
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