Modest Mark Johnston says his great week of winners at Glorious Goodwood is partly down to the fact he’s thrown a lot of darts at the board.
The Middleham trainer has been the top operator at the festival an amazing seven times in the past and is on course to make it eight after edging in front of Sir Henry Cecil with victory in the Betfred Mile on day four.
It was one of the highlights on a day when Goodwood made what most think is a bit of history by recording TWO dead heats on the same card.
For Johnston, it was his fifth win in the four days of Glorious as Silvestre de Sousa came home a length and a quarter ahead of Mabait (33/1), ridden by Alice Haynes for trainer David Simcock, on 7/1 contender Fulbright in the £125,000 contest.
Johnston told the Observer he was very happy with his record over the four days and added: “I thought it was going to be a tough week.
“We threw a lot of darts at the board but we said we’d have been disappointed not to have two or three winners.”
Johnston said Landaman - who won on day one and could well go again in the festival’s final race, the
Qipco Future Stars Apprentice Stakes on Saturday at 5.40 - was the pick of his bunch for the remainder of Glorious.
This was also Johnston’s fifth win in the race once known as the Golden Mile and de Sousa’s first win of Glorious 2012.
De Sousa said: “We went a nice pace early on and Mr Johnston’s horses are in great form so I was confident that when I made my move he would stay in front. I’m thrilled to have a winner at Glorious Goodwood, especially on this horse.”
On the subject of trainers who seem to do well in certain races, it was no surprise that the opener on day four, the Group 3 Coutts Glorious Stakes, went to Luca Cumani - it was his seventh claim on the prize as Quest For Peace gave Kieren Fallon his first win of this year’s festival.
The four-year-old 5/1 chance led from early on and beat Dandino by a length and a quarter and Cumani’s wife Sara said: “I’m not sure why we do particularly well in this race. Perhaps it just fits in well with the programme for our horses.”
Fallon said: “He’s quite classy. He ran a good race first time when he wasn’t fit.”
A rare dead heat followed in another Group 3 race, the RSA Thoroughbred Stakes, as two of the racecourse’s most regular winners Richard Hughes and Frankie Dettori couldn’t be separated when crossing the line on Trumpet Major (Richard Hannon) and Archbishop (Brian Meehan).
Dettori gave Hughes a kiss in the winner’s enclosure and Meehan said: “I couldn’t call it when I watched it but that was a good race to win. It was a Group 2 in all but name.”
Remarkably, there was a second dead heat in the last, the Betfred Bonus King Bingo Stakes, in which Jwala (Shane Kelly) and Lady Gibraltar (Michael Murphy) were level crossing the line.
It’s reckoned to be the first time Goodwood has seen two dead heats called in one meeting - and possibly the first time it’s ever happened at any Group 1 racecourse.
It made it a week to cherish for 19-year-old rookie rider Murphy - who already had a festival win to his name.
The Telegraph Nursery Stakes went to a local trainer - Angmering’s William Knight, with his first Goodwood success of 2012.
Up-and-coming Darren Egan notched his second win of the week in guiding 20/1 chance Aussie Reigns first home by a neck from 7/2 favourite Oasis Cannes. Seven horses were in the frame as they crossed the line - continuing the theme of close finishes seen all week at the festival.
Knight said: “Aussie Reigns had to be brave there because he went through a narrow gap, and fair play to Darren Egan, who is a young kid on the upgrade.
“The colt’s first three runs have been on soft ground but his home work has been good and everyone who has ridden him said he wants good ground.
“He probably wants a mile but I was quietly confident he would run well and I thought he was a massive price.”
The Group 3 Oak Tree Stakes was snatched by Jeremy Noseda-trained Regal Realm (10/1) to give Ryan Moore - who heads this season’s flat jockeys’ championship - his first win of the festival.