The irrepressible Mark Johnston has crossed the drawbridge and is now the winning-most trainer of all time in the U.K.
The Scottish-born handler saddled the 4,144th winner of a remarkable career in the trade that stretches all the way back to 1987 when his Poet’s Society land the Clipper Logistics Handicap at York’s Ebor Festival at 20-1.
Having drawn level with Richard Hannon last Saturday, Johnston had to wait to pull away from the pack and it was to be Frankie Dettori that would guide home his record-breaker on the Knavesmire.
If it was fitting that the Italian-born rider, ally of Johnston on many a big day down the years, was to be involved then it just as fitting a ride and indeed a horse.
Sent out to be ridden prominently like thousands before him, he showed admirable determination to dig in and hold off a clutch of challengers close home.
The son of Poet’s Voice was having his twenty-sixth race of the season and that, along with the style of the race, represents the crux of how the Middleham handler has developed his style as a handler.
He runs them fit, runs them often, and lets them off out in front. Taking inspiration from his colleague of the winter code in Martin Pipe, he’s accomplished this incredible achievement in the game while carving his own path and there’s few greater accolades that can be awarded to anyone that that.
Asked which of those masses of the horses he’s sent out to win was his best, Johnston said: "Attraction is the horse I was most proud of. She was really exceptional. When I had Attraction I thought I'll never have a horse as good and when she was a three-year-old, Shamardal was a two-year-old in the stables. I only had him for one season and three starts but it's quite easy to say he was the best horse I ever had."
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