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Progressive Elegiac steps out of handicap company

Mark Johnston, pictured with son Charlie, runs Elegiac at Newbury
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3.25 Newbury
British EBF Conditions Stakes | 1m5½f, 3yo | RUK

For most yards it would be unusual for a horse to run ten times in four months, let alone serving up a career-best performance on the tenth outing.

That is precisely the feat Elegiac managed when hacking up by four lengths in a York handicap off a mark of 96 two weeks ago. But we shouldn't be surprised to see such improvement when the horse hails from Mark Johnston's stable. 

A revised rating of 103 puts him in the mix for Newbury's conditions event in which he faces seven rivals. Charlie Johnston, assistant to his father, said: "He's in good order and won very impressively at York. They went quite hard that day and it looked as if the race collapsed a bit and he picked up the pieces.

"We won the inaugural running [of this race] last year with Time To Study but I think this looks a deeper renewal. He's second on official ratings and this trip with cut in the ground will suit."

Outbox looks to outfox opponents

Simon Crisford has had a good season and came close to Group 1 glory with Jash in the Middle Park Stakes last month. He saddles another nice prospect in Outbox, who has come a long way in a short time after making a winning debut only last month.

A Leicester novice victory has since followed and Crisford anticipates there may be more to come before the curtains close on the season for his Frankel gelding.

Simon Crisford: saddles Outbox, who made a winning debut last month
The trainer said: "He's running against horses who are rated higher but is in good form and open to plenty of improvement still. He's unbeaten and can step forward again."

The ground is likely to be on the easy side of good on Friday, although trainer Roger Charlton is hoping for more rain for his contender Aspetar.

He said: "It's a relatively new race with good prize-money. The trip will be fine but I'm hoping for a bit more cut in the ground. This horse needs soft ground to be seen at his best and there are plenty of others to respect in this line-up."

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We won the inaugural running last year with Time To Study but I think this looks a deeper renewal
E.W. Terms