Elarqam on comeback trail in Sky Bet York stakes

ELARQAM will bid to get his season back on track when he tackles the Sky Bet York Stakes at York this Saturday.

Owned by Hamdan Al Maktoum and trained in Middleham by Mark Johnston, Elarqam finished a staying-on fourth behind Saxon Warrior in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket before failing to live up to his favourite’s tag in the Irish equivalent at the end of May.

But the Frankel colt out of top-class miler Attraction is already a winner at York, having landed a novice race on debut last September prior to a success in the Group 3 Somerville Tattersalls Stakes at Newmarket.

Connections are pleased with his condition in the build up to his latest assignment and are hoping that it can act as a stepping stone towards bigger targets such as the £1million Juddmonte International Stakes back at York on August 22.

Richard Hills, assistant racing manager to Hamdan Al Maktoum, said: “After he disappointed in Ireland he was thoroughly checked over. He was found to have a respiratory problem – a dirty scope – which was treated and has cleared up.

“He has been freshened up and this looks a good spot for him. His Guineas run was very good and hopefully he can get back on track. The step up to a mile and a quarter shouldn’t pose any problems and he has won at the track before.

“If all goes to plan on Saturday, we would look at York (the Juddmonte International Stakes) and other big autumn targets.”

The Group 2 prize, worth £120,000, has been won in the past by the likes of Twice Over (2011) and Mukhadram (2013) and is run over the same extended mile and a quarter trip as the Juddmonte International.

A field of six head to post for the feature on Friday’s six-race card, the British Stallion Stud EBF Lyric Fillies’ Stakes – a Listed contest carrying a prize fund of £50,000.

The runners include likely favourite Desert Diamond, who finished second in a similar contest at Sandown last time out, and Rasima a daughter of Iffraaj who finished second in Group 3 company at Newcastle last month.

The two-day meeting, entitled the Music Showcase Weekend, gets underway at 6pm on Friday. Sir Tom Jones takes to the stage later that evening, while Boyzone will perform after a seven-race card on Saturday.

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