Johnston Has Two Strong Fancies on Royal Ascot Day One
Mark Johnston will send quite a few horses down to Royal Ascot from his base in Middleham this week, but it is on the very first day of the meeting where he could have his best moment. He looks to have two very strong chances on the opening day in the shape of Monoski in the Coventry Stakes and Elarqam in the Wolferton.
Monoski goes in the first two year old race of the week and plenty of eyes will be on that one to try and work out any form lines for those running later in the week. One horse that has a lot of people excited this week is Bomb Proof, and when you look at the win he had on his only start so far, Monoski was just over a length back in second place.
Since then he has got his head in front, winning a conditions race at Pontefract and that was a very nice performance. He came away to win by six lengths, with the Brocklesby winner in second behind him. That looks like it could be another rock solid piece of form, and gives this horse a definite chance in the Coventry Stakes.
The second Johnston runner who looks to have a great chance goes in the last race on the card and that is Elarqam. The Wolferton Stakes is a strange race, officially it is a listed contest but when you look down the page and see what horses are running in this, you will agree that it is full of group winners. Last year’s Irish Derby winner Latrobe runs in the race, it is not too often you see a Derby winner running in a listed contest just 12 months after.
Elarqam was the big talking horse from the Johnston yard at the start of last season, before going to the Guineas and performing respectably. As the season wore on, his form went and he really struggled which was disappointing to see as I really rate this horse highly.
This year he looks a different animal once again, and won in very taking style at Goodwood last time out. I’m hoping there is some room to build on that, and that we can finally see the real Elarqam who delighted us all so much as a two year old.
There’s two very solid chances on the opening day for Mark Johnston, don’t be surprised to see him come away with at least one winner on the day, and it would certainly be a special day for the yard if both horses could fire.