Johnston strikes again in Unibet Golden Mile

Horse Racing | Press Article 17/04/24

Mark Johnston continued his love affair with the Unibet Golden Mile when winning the race for the sixth time with Maydanny.
The Middleham trainer has regularly found the key to this ultra-competitive mile handicap, one of the toughest puzzles to solve each year at the Qatar Goodwood Festival. Johnston won the race for the first time in 1997.
Maydanny (8/1) enjoyed a clean run up the far side rail in the closing stages to prevail by a length and three-quarters from Rhoscolyn (13/2). In a race dominated by those drawn low, Escobar (12/1) was a neck further back in third, with Johan (15/2) fourth.
Jockey Jim Crowley, along with owner Shadwell, were following up the earlier success of Baaeed in the G3 Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes.
Mark Johnston said: “This was another horse who we had reservations about on the ground, but he did it well.
“Maydanny loves Goodwood and goes well here. He had a few traffic problems, but responded well to that and picked up really well. It's a great result.
“Jim could have come wide but instead went for the gaps on the rail and it worked out well."
Maydanny was declared to run in the Unibet "You're On" Chesterfield Cup Handicap on Tuesday, which he won last year, but was pulled out on account of the testing ground.
Charlie Johnston, assistant to his father, said: “Plan A for Maydanny for quite some time was to defend his crown in the mile-and-a-quarter handicap on the opening day and I was very confident coming into the meeting. I thought he was one of our best chances of the week.
"When the rain came, we decided to pull him out and we had the same quandary with Qaader [won on Thursday] who we were going to try a new trip with, but we didn't want to do that in soft ground.
“Somehow everything has worked out in the end. The one thing I would take from it is that it pays to keep your options open.
"This horse travelled down on Tuesday, didn't run so went back to Middleham and has travelled down here twice this week. The horse lost 12kg just for coming down on Tuesday and not running, which just goes to show how significant the mileage is that our horses put in to come here.
"It was a big ask for this horse to travel down twice in a week, but it was worth it in the end."
Crowley said: “Fair play, they pulled Maydanny out on the first day because the ground was a bit worse, but he loves it here.
"I got a lovely split. It got a bit tight up the rail for minute but once he got through, he was away.
"He's not the biggest but he's quite solid to sit on. He is very well bred and when things go right, he's got an engine.”
Maydanny wins the Unibet Golden Mile Handicap (credit: Goodwood Racecourse)
3.00pm Unibet Golden Mile Handicap
1 Maydanny (Shadwell Estate Company Ltd) Mark Johnston 5-9-05 Jim Crowley 8/1
2 Rhoscolyn (The Horse Watchers) David O’Meara 3-9-01 Oisin Murphy 13/2
3 Escobar (Withernsea Thoroughbred Limited) David O’Meara 7-9-08 Jason Watson 12/1
4 Johan (Jon & Julia Aisbitt) William Haggas 4-9-09 Ryan Moore 15/2
18 ran            5/2 fav Path Of Thunder (13th)
Mark Johnston - 88th Qatar Goodwood Festival winner
Jim Crowley - 21st Qatar Goodwood Festival winner