Communique Inches Johnston Closer To The Record

Horse Racing | Press Article 16/04/24


Yorkshire-based Scot Mark Johnston inched closer to the goal of becoming the most successful trainer of winners in Britain when Communique won the £75,000 Matchbook Best Value Exchange Handicap.

Ridden by Silvestre De Sousa, Communique (7/2f) beat Zaman (12/1) and Global Giant (25/1) by one and a half lengths and a short head.

Johnston, who has been leading trainer at the Qatar Goodwood Festival on 11 occasions, said: "After he won at Newbury earlier this season we might have thought he would be moving on to even bigger things, but he had a couple of slightly disappointing runs when things didn't go his way, and they went very much his way today.

"People talk about keeping horses busy, but he hasn't had a gallop at home since before the season started, so he's not particularly busy and they all thrive on racing. He's rated 97 so the next step is either more valuable handicaps or to go up to Pattern company."

Of his bid to land the record for number of winners in Britain, which is 4,193 and held by Richard Hannon Snr, Johnston said: "I believe we are 17 behind now and there are lots of people talking about it, but we will enjoy it when it comes. I'm proud of it - I've never disputed that the trainers' championship should be decided on prize money won, not winners, although if it had been I would have been champion trainer on 12 occasions. Winners are important to owners big and small, and every year that we have a good season in terms of winners we know the owners will be back again the following season.

"The owners want to win more than anything else, so, of course, to train the most winners is a very important thing."

Johnston runs fancied Marie's Diamond in today's G2 Qatar Richmond Stakes, although the horse was offered for sale last night at Goffs UK's Goodwood Sale, held in the winner's enclosure after racing. Johnston said: "He was not sold last night, so there will be a lot of people watching with interest having been given the opportunity to buy him. He's got a great chance, and while it's a step up I hope he's up to it."

1.50pm Matchbook Best Value Exchange Handicap

1 Communique (Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum) Mark Johnston 3-8-13 Silvestre de Sousa 7/2 fav

2 Zaman (Godolphin) Charlie Appleby 3-9-07 William Buick 12/1

3 Global Giant (Dr Johnny Hon) Ed Dunlop 3-9-01 Gerald Mosse 25/1

12 ran

Time: 2m 6.54s

Distances: 1½, sh

Tote       Win: £3.90           Place: £1.30, £3.80, £8.30             Exacta: £44.20

Mark Johnston - 141 Goodwood winners (76 at Qatar Goodwood Festival)

Silvestre de Sousa - 25 Goodwood winners (13 at Qatar Goodwood Festival)


Silvestre de Sousa, on board the 7/2 favourite and winner Communique, said: "It is on the quick side of good."

William Buick, rider of the one and a half length second placed Zaman (12/1), said: "Good."

Gerald Mosse, jockey of third home 25/1 Global Giant, said: "Good."

Harry Bentley, partner of fourth Rock Eagle, said: "It is beautiful, lovely ground with a bit of give in it."

P J McDonald, partner of Ventura Knight, said "It has tightened up a bit - good ground and lovely."

Luke Morris, on Al Jellaby, said: "Good to firm."

Paul Hanagan, rider of Crownthorpe, said: "I would call it good, good to firm in places."

Kieran O'Neill, jockey of Maverick Officer, said: "Lovely ground."

Hayley Turner, rider of New Show, said: "Good to firm."

Jimmy Quinn, rider of Sing Out Loud, said: "Good to firm."