Johnston joins Stoute as winning-most trainer at Goodwood

Middleham trainer also fires record-breaking half-century of winners for July

  • Wednesday 31 July
  • News
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Mark Johnston equalled the record for career winners at Glorious Goodwood with a double on day two of the showpiece fixture.

Wins for Sir Ron Priestley and Mrs Bouquet not only brought up the Johnston half-century for the month of July – a record in itself – they saw the Middleham trainer join Sir Michael Stoute on 80 victories at the famous meeting on the Sussex Downs.

Johnston said: “I didn’t know that we had broken all these records, particularly not the Sir Michael Stoute record. It’s also very special to win 50 races in a month.

“It is all about the horses. We don’t miss any entries, we don’t miss any races and we are just great believers in running our horses. When things are going well and the sun is shining, we are great believers in running them again.

“We do not mind running horses again soon after one race because they are in peak form.”

Johnston did, however, also have his thoughts back much nearer home, with floods hitting the north of England.

He said: “Our house was flooded, I don’t know how badly, but there are an awful lot more people worse off. The horses are still getting out and everyone is alive.

“I don’t know how other Middleham trainers have fared, or the gallops. Everybody has said they have never seen anything like it, so I don’t think a gallop could survive.

“If the water is running down it it is taking something with it. We are on a hill, but our gallops are not on as much of a hill as the Middleham gallops are.”

Sir Ron Priestley (6-1) was continuing his own profitable campaign in the Unibet Handicap.

The Australia colt had bounced back from defeat at Royal Ascot to win at Haydock, and stuck on his game fashion to claim this mile and a half contest by a neck.

He was cut to 16-1 from 33-1 for the St Leger by sponsors Ladbrokes, while Betfair went 25-1 from 50-1.

Johnston said: “It was a very frustrating day on Tuesday with three seconds, beaten by short margins. It is great to get back on the scoresheet.

“I would have said he was the ideal horse for this type of race. He has raced a fair bit, but he is still on the upgrade and we always thought of him as a top-class horse so it is no surprise.

“The owner has reminded me he is on Saturday, so we will have a look at it, but I doubt he will run.

On the Leger entry, he added: “He was very borderline whether we put him in the St Leger or not. The conditions and the trip would be right, but it is a top-class race and you need a Group One horse and he has not proved he is a Group One runner yet.”

It did not take the Middleham maestro long to bring up his 50 as Mrs Bouquet and Joe Fanning saw off 15-8 favourite Mighty Spirit by a length in the Alice Keppel EBF Fillies’ Conditions Stakes.

“It would be better if it was 51 or 52,” joked Johnston.

His son and assistant, Charlie Johnston, said of the 3-1 chance: “This filly is progressing and she won twice in three days before coming here.

“We have entered her in a Listed race at Deauville next Saturday and she could well go there to try to get some black type – that is the obvious thing to do.”

Timoshenko made the perfect return to action after almost a year off to complete the first leg of a two-race plan with victory in the Unibet Goodwood Handicap.

Making his first start in 355 days, the Sir Mark Prescott-trained son of Archipenko showed he was ready to fire first time out as he completed a six-timer in the extended two-and-a-half-mile contest.

Despite being pushed along early enough in the home straight by Luke Morris, the 9-1 shot continued to find plenty for pressure before getting up to deny Seinesational by a neck.

Following the race the winner was introduced at 20-1 for the Cesarewitch by Paddy Power.

Prescott said: “The worse he is going, the better the result, as it means they are going fast enough for him to stay on. They can’t be too quirky if they win six in a row.

“We stopped early last year as we decided to run here and then run in the Cesarewitch and the plan is not to run again now. One half of the plan has come off.

“It was important his jockey stayed on the rail as I don’t think he would have won if he had come round them.

“He was bred by Mrs (Kirsten) Rausing (owner) so it is a sort of Heath House production.”

The Simon Crisford-trained Mannaal was a 12-1 winner of the British EBF Premier Fillies’ Handicap in the hands of Megan Nicholls.

Tom Marquand and Dirty Rascal took advantage of bottom weight and stall one to record a hard-fought 7-1 victory in the closing New & Lingwood Handicap, for trainer Richard Hannon, by a neck from Salute The Soldier.

Johnston joins Stoute as winning-most trainer at Goodwood
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