Friday’s racing tips – 13/8 NAP Qam claim second Listed prize at Sandown

Elarqam looks a picture after his run at Newmarket last season.

Elarqam looks a picture after his run at Newmarket last season.

Our expert takes a look through every race on day one of Sandown’s Coral-Eclipse Festival and selects a strong challenger in the Listed Gala Stakes as his NAP of the day with Coral.

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3:25pm Sandown Davies Insurance Services Gala Stakes (Listed Race) 1m2f

Two strong handicap victories have helped Royal Line up to a career-high mark and John Gosden’s five-year-old is respected dropping down in trip. Three-year-old Fifth Position is another interesting runner, but I’d be surprised if he – or any of the other six entrants – were able to deny ELARQAM and there’s still plenty of value to be found backing the market leader at 13/8.

It’s taken the former Irish Guineas favourite a little longer to find his feet than many people expected. In truth, Mark Johnston’s charge – one of the talking horses heading into 2018 – endured a pretty dreadful campaign last term. After Elarqam was well beaten in the Grand Sefton on his reappearance, his fans were left fearing more of the same was to come in 2019, but Johnston’s imposing colt seems to have turned a corner.

On his first start in Listed company, Elarqam swept Willie John and Thundering Blue aside to win the Festival Stakes at Goodwood. Jim Crowley’s mount then ran an excellent race to place third in a red-hot renewal of the Wolferton Stakes at Royal Ascot. Addeybb proved his class, and a clear liking for soft ground, that day and the form is beginning to work out well too, as Magic Wand and Latrobe – who finished either side of Elarqam – have gone on to post strong performances in more esteemed company since.

This will be a first start at Sandown for Elarqam but, judging by the way he took to the turning, right-handed track at Goodwood, the favourite will likely relish the challenge. Trip and ground conditions should be ideal and I’d be surprise if a three-pound penalty was enough to stop Elarqam claiming his second Listed victory of the summer.