x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Horse racing: Landaman lifts trainer to weekend title at Goodwood

Landaman started Mark Johnston's week with a win and ends it with one as well as the trainer takes top honours at Glorious Goodwood.

Landaman opened trainer Mark Johnston's week with a win at Goodwood and then closed it with one, too, to earn him trainer of the week honours at the track.
Landaman opened trainer Mark Johnston's week with a win at Goodwood and then closed it with one, too, to earn him trainer of the week honours at the track.

 

Goodwood, England// Going into Glorious Goodwood it appeared that few UAE-owned horses would make an impact at the meeting but one man single-handedly provided Dubai with success across the five days.

Mark Johnston was crowned the leading trainer at the meeting on Saturday once Landaman picked up the final race of 35 for his owner, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed.

The four year old had also won the opening handicap on the Tuesday and provided the Crown Prince of Dubai with two of his five wins at the meeting.

Johnston saddled seven winners overall, which included Heavy Metal, who took the Group 2 Richmond Stakes in Sheikh Hamdan's green and red silks on Thursday.

The two-year-old son of Exceed And Excel almost characterises Johnston's week.

Heavy Metal finished last behind Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid's Alhebayeb in the Group 2 July Stakes at Newmarket last month as infections and coughing ravaged his yard, but at Goodwood he denied seven colts.

"I said at the start of the week I would be disappointed if I didn't get two or three winners, but that was a generalisation for Goodwood because if we run around 20 horses we would still hope to get a couple of winners," Johnston said.

Although Silvestre De Sousa rode Fulbright to victory in the Mile Handicap on Friday, it is Joe Fanning who is now taking the bulk of the rides at Johnston's Middleham yard as the Brazilian rider fulfils his Godolphin commitments.

Fanning has ridden over 100 winners this season and his role in the success of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed's season - he has more than 70 winners in Britain this year already - is not lost on Johnston.

"Joe is in tremendous form and is riding great races from impossible draws and impossible positions," the trainer said. "He is not throwing the towel in when things go wrong early in a race.

"He is thinking his way through it and recovering from a bad position, which makes a huge difference."

Johnston was not present on Saturday to pick up his championship title but his wife, Deidre, was on hand to explain what the victory meant to the family and the operation as a whole.

"It has been a lovely week and it is smashing to win the championship again as it is a meeting we always target," she said. "All the family comes down for the week - the boys and my parents - so it is a big week as a whole.

"The stable had been quiet for a while but we had two winners on the Friday and five winners on the Saturday last weekend [before Goodwood], which gave us hope that the horses were starting to run better - and it was even more encouraging that those winners were in valuable races.

"We came here and then won the first race and haven't looked back. I'd say that Heavy Metal providing us with our first Group winner of the year and Fulbright's big win would be the highlights."

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