Mark Johnston delighted with exciting 2000 Guineas prospect Elarqam


Mark Johnston is planning to get two racecourse gallops into Elarqam ahead of his bid for honours in the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 5.

The unbeaten son of Frankel out of Johnston's 2004 English and Irish 1000 Guineas heroine Attraction, is having his work stepped up by the Middleham trainer as he prepares for a tilt at the colts' Classic his sire took by storm in 2011.

"Elarqam appears to have done very, very well over the winter and will have his first piece of fast work over the next couple of days," said Johnston.

"He is being aimed at the 2000 Guineas and everything is on target at the moment for him to go there without another race.

"The plan is for him to have a racecourse gallop at Redcar or Pontefract on either April 2 or 3 and if everything goes well we might take him down to Newmarket during the Craven Meeting (April 17-19) for another racecourse gallop, when Sheikh Hamdan (Al Maktoum, owner) should be able to watch.

"As a son of Attraction he holds a special place in my heart and from my point of view he couldn't have a better pedigree, being by Frankel out of Attraction. He is the spitting image of his mother - he looks like a male version of her.

"When he won the Tattersalls Stakes, Sheikh Hamdan said straight afterwards that he had done enough for the season, it was his decision. I think that a mile will turn out to be his minimum trip.

"We have been very marginally held up by the weather, as he was ready for a piece of work at the end of last week, but there is still plenty of time for him."

Aidan O'Brien is responsible for 11 of the 69 entries as he seeks to take his record total in the race to nine.

Among his team are champion two-year-old U S Navy Flag, winner of the Dewhurst and Middle Park Stakes, Racing Post Trophy scorer Saxon Warrior and Gustav Klimt, winner of the Superlative Stakes.