MARK JOHNSTON became the winning most trainer in British racing history when saddling his 4,194th winner in 2019 and rest assured the Middleham trainer will be rattling in plenty more when racing eventually resumes in this country.
Johnston had the mammoth total of 249 winners last year and picked up £5,399.661 in prize money and a major contributor to that total was in the two-year-old division with 93 winners returning £1,151,348.
Star performer was the filly Raffle Prize who won the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot and Group 2 Duchess of Cambridge Stakes at Newmarket and contributed £183,806 in prize money and another major money-spinner was the ever improving Rose Of Kildare who notched up £98, 322 and won five of her 12 starts and ended her campaign with victory in the Group 3 Oh So Sharp Stakes at Newmarket in October.
Once again, Mark has a wealth of juvenile talent and his assistant, son Charlie Johnston, suggested a dozen of what he hopes could be worth keeping an eye on to our reporter Tony Elves.
Please note: Where a horse exists in the ATR database we have linked to its form and tracker profile below, we will update others when they become available.
Chestnut Filly; Pivotal – Baileys Jubilee
She is out of Baileys Jubilee who we trained and she was a very good two-year-old and won the first Fillies race of the year at Kempton and went on to be third in the Cheveley Park. This filly has been showing quite a lot early on and we had been aiming her at the same race that her mum won. She looks forward and early and she will be out as soon as we can get her out. If she is half as good as her mum then she will be good. She will start at five and I am sure she will get six further down the line.
Bay Colt; Fastnet Rock – Rosery
Some of our two-year-olds are quite well forward as they did quite a bit of groundwork before racing was stopped. He has already got as far as galloping out of stalls on grass and he will be ready to run as quickly as racing resumes. His dam was placed in Group company over six furlongs and he’s bred to have quite a lot of speed. He looks quite a precocious type and is quite mature. He will be ready to hit the ground running once racing resumes.
Bay Filly; Dawn Approach – Khazina
She has been included as we paid 16,000gns for her in Book 1 at Tattersalls and I think she was probably just about the cheapest horse to change hands in that catalogue. It will be interesting to see how things pan out for her this year but I would be confident she is the sort we could win the Book 1 bonus with. She is plus £10k and Book 1 bonus so she could win £40k in one go! She has had two gallops already and looks to be going well.
EYE OF HEAVEN
Bay Colt; Exceed And Excel – Risen Sun
I picked this fellow as he looks like being quite forward. He is a very big strong colt and he did his first bit of work eight days ago. He worked nicely and we have his half brother Desert Safari who is rated in the 90’s and a horse with a lot of speed. This fellow seems quite similar and he is one to look forward too early on. You could see him over five or six furlongs.
Chestnut Filly; Frankel – Rose Bonheur
This filly is a half sister to Nayef Road who was third in the St Leger for us last year and she has a very strong pedigree. Nayef Road blossomed as a three-year-old and this filly will be the same and I don’t think we will see her until the second half of the year. She won’t start over anything less than seven furlongs. Nayef Road is by Galileo and she is by Frankel so she is a three parts sister to him and one with an exciting pedigree that’s for sure. She hasn’t done anything serious yet and it is still early days for her but she is cantering away and moves very nicely.
LOVE IS GOLDEN
Bay Colt; Golden Horn – Holy Moon
He is particularly interesting as he come from a phenomenal family and the dam has bred nine winners from nine runners. They have nearly all got black type and are headed by the amazing Sea Of Class. We bought him in Book 2 and he is a very late foal (May 30) and you don’t get many foals born later than that. As a result he was weak and backward at the Yearling Sales and he is still quite backward now. We haven’t done any fast work with him and I know he will take a lot of time but we had Golden Horn’s first Stakes winner last year and he is a stallion we are keen on. We are looking forward to his first crop of three-year-olds this year and this horse has all the hallmarks on pedigree of being a good mile and a half horse at three. He is one for the backend of this year.
Chestnut Colt; Australia – Permission Slip
We gave 30,000 euros in the Goffs Orby Sales and Australia is a stallion we are very keen on. Obviously we had Sir Ron Priestley last year who went through the ranks for us and I would expect this horse to need time. On pedigree, I wouldn’t expect him to be running anything less than seven furlongs or a mile this year and, again, he is a late foal but he is showing more at this stage than I would have expected too. That is always a good sign when they are bred to need time and distance but able to show you a bit of speed in late March.
SANDS OF TIME
Bay Filly; Starlit Sands – Starlit Sands
She is a filly by Bobby’s Kitten who is a fairly new stallion to most people. He was a good Sprinter/Miler in America and Kirsten Rausing has brought him over and standing him at Landwades Stud. We have a few of his progeny that Kirsten has bred and a few that we have bought ourselves. We hope he is a stallion we hope can hit the ground running and he is out of a mare Starlit Sands who was a very good sprinter in her own right. She hasn’t done any fast work yet but she’s quite a strong masculine filly and with her pedigree she should be reasonably precocious and one to get going with when the six furlong races come around.
Bay Colt; Kodiac – Noahs Arc
He would probably have been our representative in the Brocklesby if it had been run. He has already done plenty of work in the Spring and was looking forward and working well. We will be looking to have him running as soon as racing resumes and we are looking forward to getting him out.
STATE OF BLISS
Bay Colt; Gleneagles – Crystal Valkyrie
He is a colt I really like and we had his full sister last year called Freyja. She won twice for us over seven furlongs in August of last year and I think this colt will be the same. He is a lovely big strong colt and he has done one piece of work so far. He looks to hold all the attributes we look for and he is out of another stallion we are quite keen on. We only had two Gleneagles last year – they were both fillies that are both quite good. We’ve gone quite strong on his stock at last year’s Sales and he looks a particularly nice one.
Bay Filly; Muhaarar – Reckoning
She is a half sister to Sir Ron Priestley so we now have the four-year-old who ran second in the St Leger, the three-year-old Teofilo half brother called Subjectivist who was in the high 90’s last year and we have bought her as well. The mare has been very successful for us ans his filly’s page is getting better all the time. Muhaarar was obviously a very high class champion Sprinter but his two-year-olds last year seemed to take longer than you might have expected. I think again she will be in that mould and I don’t think we will see her until the seven furlong races come around. She is just in light work at the moment but the mare has delivered for us the last twice and let’s hope it the same third time.
Chestnut colt; Galileo – Zouzou
He is a horse we are thrilled to have and he has a fantastic pedigree being by Galileo out of Zouzou which makes him a half-brother to Zoustar. He was a Champion in Australia and now stands at Tweenhills. I don’t think he will have the speed of Zoustar and he was quite a late foal and quite backward when he first came into us. He is doing well physically and improving all the time. I don’t think we will see him until the second half of the season over seven furlongs or a mile but he has an exciting pedigree and we are looking forward to him.