Extra Elusive aiming to underline Champion hopes at Newbury

Extra Elusive will attempt to book his ticket to next month’s Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot when he lines-up in the Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup at Newbury on Saturday.

Connections of the Roger Charlton-trained gelding have one eye on the Group One Champion Stakes on October 17.

The five-year-old is on a hat-trick of Group Three successes after taking the Rose of Lancaster Stakes at Haydock and the Winter Hill Stakes at Windsor.

“He’s been very well and is a progressive sort and we are hopeful he will run a big race,” said Tony Nerses, racing manager to owner Imad Al Sagar.

“It is his third Group Three and we have to take the 3lb penalty. I don’t think that will disturb him.

“Somehow we have found the key to him. He is quite a happy horse. He has earned his confidence back.

“We are hoping he will go here and from there will go to the Champion Stakes.

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“The plan is to go and take his chance with the big boys and see how we go. There is nothing to lose. You have to jump high sometimes.”

Extra Elusive will face just three rivals in his hat-trick bid, including the Mark Johnston-trained Elarqam, who is on a retrieval mission following his disappointing effort when bidding for back-to-back victories in the Group Two York Stakes.

Charlie Johnston, son and assistant to his father, said: “He has got a couple of below-par efforts to bounce back from. We were disappointed with his run at York as we expected better from him there.

“He has had a bit of time off since then and in terms of finding the right opposition to bring him back against, this looks a nice race to come back in.

“The Rose of Lancaster came a bit quick after York and there was nothing else obvious. This has been ringed on the calendar for about four weeks.

“He has been tipping away nicely at home for the last month and he seems fine. This will tell us what kind of hopes we can have for the autumn and where we see him going.”

Plenty of familiar names do battle for the other Group Three on Saturday’s card – the Dubai International Airport World Trophy.

The standard is set by the Charlie Hills-trained Equilateral, who was not disgraced in finishing sixth at the highest level in last Sunday’s Flying Five at the Curragh.

Clive Cox’s Tis Marvellous bids to follow up a recent win at Leicester, with the David Griffiths-trained veteran Ornate and James Tate’s filly Wise Words also in the mix.

The latter ran a fine race to finish fourth in the Scarbrough Stakes at Doncaster last week on what was her first competitive appearance in 12 months.

Tate said: “She ran a cracker after a year off at Doncaster and had no luck in running whatsoever.

“She’s come out of the race well and I’m hoping for another good run on Saturday.”

William Buick expects the return to five furlongs to play to the strengths of the Charlie Appleby-trained Lazuli.

The Classic-winning rider said: “He is a lovely horse. He won a Listed sprint at Sandown earlier in the season, but then he was disappointing next time.

“He ran well at Deauville last time over six furlongs. Coming back to five will suit him, I think.

“He is a horse we have not seen the best of yet – hopefully he will perform well on Saturday.”

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