Arlington Million scouting report: Elleval
Elleval has a profile reminiscent of Million rival Belgian Bill, in that both are primarily veterans of the handicap ranks who are venturing outside of their comfort zones into Grade 1 company.
Unlike Belgian Bill, however, Elleval is perhaps at his best at 1 1/4 miles.
A regular at the Dubai Carnival for the past three years, Elleval was second to Godolphin’s high-class Hunter’s Light in a January 29 handicap. This marked the beginning of a three-race spree for Hunter’s Light, who added the Dubai Millennium and Jebel Hatta (G1):
Two starts later, Elleval was a troubled third in another 1 1/4-mile handicap at Meydan, where he was buried on the inside and didn’t see daylight until it was too late:
Elleval never landed in a blow in the March 7 Jebel Hatta. The cutback to about 1 1/8 miles in Group 1 company was too tall a task.
By that point in the Carnival, note that Belgian Bill had already signed off and was building up to a time-honored handicap back home in England (the Lincoln). Also in contrast to Belgian Bill, Elleval’s quartet of stakes placings are arguably more significant.
Runner-up to Lines of Battle in the 2013 U.A.E. Derby (G2), he has also finished second in the past two runnings of the Enterprise (G3) at Leopardstown, notably when best of the rest behind Free Eagle last September. To be sure, there was little strength in depth in that race, but it was run in a quick time. And Free Eagle, an Arc hopeful, edged The Grey Gatsby in the Prince of Wales’s (G1) at Royal Ascot in his only start this year.
Elleval exits a closing second to Beverly D. (G1) contender Carla Bianca in the July 16 Meld (G3), also at Leopardstown. (Clip starts at 5:33.)
What Leopardstown and Meydan have in common – along with Arlington – is that they’re left-handed circuits, as is Dundalk, where Elleval broke his maiden. The David Marnane charge figures to do his best work late again here. On paper, he has something to find on the main players, but he’s the type to crash the exotics at a price.
Photo courtesy of Four Footed Fotos.