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RacingBetter News
Thursday 23rd August 2018
   
Mark Johnston Breaks Winners Record

Mark Johnston became the most successful racehorse trainer in Britain, saddling his 4,194th winner on Thursday, 23rd August.

Mark Johnston
© Caroline Norris

Mark Johnston
He passed Richard Hannon senior's record of 4,193 career victories with an unexpected success in the Clipper Logistics Handicap at York for Poets Society, who came in at 20/1 under Frankie Dettori.

Johnston was delighted to finally get over the line after being on the brink of the record for a good while.

He said: “It’s been very frustrating, but it’s not as if we’ve had loads of odds-on shots beat.

“Relief is the main thing I’m feeling – it’s out the way now and on to the next one (winner).

“If you could have had the perfect result it would have been Joe Fanning on board, but, as we were saying earlier, because it was Frankie no one will forget it.”

Johnston has more chances at the Ebor Festival to increase his number of winners, including Time To Study in the Ebor Handicap on Saturday, currently a 33/1 shot with Ladbrokes.

Johnston saddled his first winner in 1987, when Hinari Video won at Carlisle, having taken out his trainer's licence in the March of that year.

The 58 year-old Glasow born qualified vet has had his share of big race success since then, his first Group-race winner coming through Marina Park in the Princess Margaret Stakes at Ascot in 1992 followed by other top grade winners, including three Ascot Gold Cup three times, courtesy of Double Trigger and dual victor Royal Rebel.

Mister Baileys provided classic glory in the 2000 Guineas and the brilliant Attraction won the 1000 Guineas in 2004, while his current tally stands at 43 Royal Ascot triumphs on his CV.

He added: “I started small. It was just one winner at a time and with horses like this. That was his sixth win of the year. That’s what it’s about – to run them.

“This horse epitomises what we’re all about – I think he’s won about nine races now.

“This is a special place to do it, as well, but it’s business as usual now.

“We’ve got friends over – not for this (the record), but because it’s York – and it’s certainly not going to be a quiet night.

“From where we started, I’ve got to pinch myself.”

Reflecting further on his achievement, Johnston said: “I don’t think anyone has belittled the record and sometimes I have to take a breath and think how important it is. Now we can get back to business.

“To do it here is great, a big crowd and I really appreciated the applause.

“I nearly wasn’t here, though. An owner came to see some yearlings we’d bought in France and I had to decide whether to stay and meet him or come and see two runners who were 20-1 and 33-1.

“When I set out (as a trainer) it was all about winning Group Ones and Classics, I had no pretensions to train so many winners, I didn’t even know who held the record.

“It only really came to my attention when Richard Hannon took it off Martin Pipe and then I thought ‘I can get that’.

“It won’t be a quiet night, that’s for sure.”