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2019 Ebor Festival news – Elarqam camp confident ahead of International outing as Gosden explains Enable Oaks bid

Enable (near) edges out Crystal Ocean (far, left) in the King George at Ascot.

We bring you some key quotes as two of this season’s stars, Elarqam and Enable prepare for their appearances at York’s Ebor Festival next week.

It seemed, for a long time, like Mark Johnston wasn’t going to be able to extract the enormous potential out of Elarqam. After falling to comfortable defeats in both the British and Irish 2000 Guineas, Elarqam had his colours lowered in two lesser races last term and a disappointing defeat on his reappearance at Sandown will hardly have filled Johnston with too much confidence.

Yet, Britain’s winning-most trainer refused to give up on his son of Frankel, sending him to Goodwood for a confidence-boosting mission in the Listed Festival Stakes. Elarqam duly ended his losing streak and, following a fine third in the Windsor Castle at Ascot, Jim Crowley’s mount secured a second Listed prize in the Gala Stakes.

As rain thundered down on the Knavesmire, Addeybb was all-the-rage leading up to the York Stakes. With Jim Crowley otherwise occupied, Dane O’Neill was drafted in to give Elarqam a confident ride. Just as Addeybb attempted to make his move off the rail, Elarqam pounced, powering clear of his rivals with apparent ease to secure a maiden Group Two title.

"We always knew he had that performance in him." Johnston told the Racing Post at the weekend. "He hasn't had any injuries this year, which is the main thing. He ended last season with a fractured pelvis. He's a very laid-back horse who needs to be kept busy, which he wasn't last season."

"He's won a Group 2 now so it's time to take the step up to Group 1 level and we'll see what happens."

The prestigious Juddmonte International Stakes is next on the agenda for Elarqam, with bookmakers Coral quoting odds of 8/1. King George runner-up, Crystal Ocean is the 11/8 favourite, ahead of Magical, with three-year-olds, King Of Comedy and Circus Maximus representing this year's Classic generation.
Racing fans around the world had hoped Enable’s name would be sitting atop the Juddmonte International betting. Following that hard-fought victory over Crystal Ocean at Ascot, it looked like Enable would sit on the sidelines until her record-breaking bid to claim a hat-trick in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Yet, after coming out of Ascot in excellent heart, Gosden and his team have decided to head to York after all.

"The key factor is there are 71 days between the King George and Arc.” Gosden told reporters at Saratoga over the weekend.  “That is a long time. You don't want to be letting her all the way down to then bring her back again.”

"She has been very full of herself since the King George and actually quite playful. It wouldn't be in our interests to try to keep a lid on her for 71 days, while nor has she had a stiff spring and early summer campaign. She enjoys training and racing, so it is wise to put a nicely spaced race in the middle."

Those who presumed that meant another clash with Crystal Ocean in the Juddmonte were left sorely disappointed, however, as Gosden identified the Yorkshire Oaks as his stable star's next assignment.

"We've picked the Yorkshire Oaks because I wasn't comfortable with bringing her back in trip having just returned to a mile and a half at Ascot, where possibly the best part of her race was the last half-furlong." Gosden Explained 

"She won over a mile and a quarter in the Eclipse first time out this year, but Sandown, with its stiff four-furlong uphill finish, is a very different track to York, which is flat and produces a different style of race. 

"Let's play to her strengths and give her a nice run in the Yorkshire Oaks, after which we have around six weeks of build-up to the Arc. No decision on what happens after the Arc has or will be made for some time but I think you would have to say the likeliest scenario is that the Arc will be her last race."

As you would expect, Enable is the overwhelming favourite to recapture the prize she won as a three-year-old, with most bookmakers listing her as short as 1/5. Enable’s stablemate and this year’s Epsom queen, Anapurna is likely to line up in opposition, along with fellow three-year-olds, Fleeting, Antonio De Vega and Pink Dogwood.

*Current York betting with Coral*
Juddmonte International (21/8/19)
11/8 Crystal Ocean, 7/2 Magical, 9/2 King Of Comedy, 7/1 Circus Maximus, 8/1 Elarqam, 12/1 Japan, Anthony Van Dyck, 14/1 Regal Reality, 16/1 Bar

Yorkshire Oaks (22/8/19)
1/5 Enable, 8/1 Fleeting, Anapurna, Coronet, 10/1 Antonia De Vega, 12/1 Pink Dogwood, Sun Maiden, Lah Ti Dar, 16/1 Bar

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2019 Ebor Festival news – Elarqam camp confident ahead of International outing as Gosden explains Enable Oaks bid

We bring you some key quotes as two of this season’s stars, Elarqam and Enable prepare for their appearances at York’s Ebor Festival next week.

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