The progressive Elarqam for trainer Mark Johnston has been eyed up to head over to Ireland for his next test in the Irish Champion Stakes where he would have to be supplemented ahead of the contest.
All season he had run to a good standard winning three of his last four races and his loss was a good third at Royal Ascot in the Wolferton Stakes on soft ground with the form being franked from that race.
He headed into his first ever Group One contest on the premises that he might not be good enough for this level but his trainer and connections can now firmly say he is a Group One winner in the making.
In the Juddmonte he met so much trouble and still managed to give a career best performance when finishing third and if given an extra furlong may have challenged the leaders Crystal Ocean and Japan who made it one of the greatest renewals of the contest ever seen on the Knavesmire.
Elarqam is still being aimed at the Champion Stakes at Ascot on British Champions weekend but if coming out of the York Group One in good health Johnston is seriously looking at Leopardstown on September 14th as his next contest.
(Credit At The Races) 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.”