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Turf Talk: Out-of-sorts Elarqam faces race-path crossroads

Elarqam ridden by Jim Crowley. PIC: Nigel French/PA Wire
Elarqam ridden by Jim Crowley. PIC: Nigel French/PA Wire
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plans for Elarqam remain fluid following his disappointing effort in the Irish 2,000 Guineas a fortnight ago.

Mark Johnston’s Middleham charge was a hot favourite for the Curragh Classic after his fourth-place finish in the Guineas at Newmarket, but the son of Frankel out of the brilliant mare Attraction finished a well-beaten sixth.

Middleham assistant trainer, Charlie Johnstone.

Middleham assistant trainer, Charlie Johnstone.

Subsequent tests have failed to reveal any significant abnormalities and connections are now in a quandary over whether to continue down the Group One path or lower his sights.

Charlie Johnston, assistant to his father, said: “We gave him the once-over and there were no orthopaedic or soundness issues. We scoped him and it came back a little bit dirty, but nothing has come to light to explain that sort of performance.

“He has been back cantering since last Sunday and seems well and fine.

“He was beaten at halfway. We went there knowing if he ran to his Newmarket level he would go very close. He ran a stone below it. Quite why, we don’t know. At this stage, we’ve just got to suck it up and move on.

Threading ridden by William Buick. PIC: Simon Cooper/PA Wire

Threading ridden by William Buick. PIC: Simon Cooper/PA Wire

“I’m sure dad will want to speak to Angus Gold (racing manager) and Sheikh Hamdan (owner). There are two clear different routes to go down and that is come down in class and try to get his head back in front, or to keep campaigning him like a Guineas fourth and throw him back in the deep end somewhere.

“We’ve let the dust settle from Ireland and we will sit down with the Shadwell team in the next week or two and decide which route we go down.”

While Elarqam appears unlikely to be part of Johnston’s team for Royal Ascot later this month, the Middleham-based trainer is assembling a strong squad for the showpiece fixture.

Threading, who bolted up in a Listed contest at York last month, is set to step back up in class for the Coronation Stakes.

SOBOT’S SELECTIONS

CHELMSFORD: 2.20 I’ll Have Another, 2.50 Be Proud, 3.20 Courtside, 3.50 Seniority, 4.20 Udontdodou, (next best) 4.50 Hermosita, 5.20 Court Of Justice.

HAMILTON: 6.00 Dark Confidant, 6.30 Mr Diamond, 7.00 Granite City Doc, 7.30 Zumurud, 8.00 Colour Contrast, 8.30 Logi, 9.00 Minty Jones.

HAYDOCK: 2.10 Plentiful, 2.40 Ellheidi, 3.10 CARADOC (NAP), 3.40 Ulshaw Bridge, 4.10 New Society, 4.40 Vision Clear, 5.10 Kyllachy Dragon.

KEMPTON: 6.10 Casina Di Notte, 6.40 Capla Demon, 7.10 Qayed, 7.40 Gripper, 8.10 Seprani, 8.40 Lightning Charlie, 9.10 Banff.

YARMOUTH: 2.00 Frank Cool, 2.30 African Girl, 3.00 Motagally, 3.30 Calm Charm, 4.00 The Night King, 4.30 Restless Rose, 5.00 Majestic Moon, 5.30 Sussex Girl.