x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Namibian hands trainer Mark Johnston 50th win

Mark Johnston secured his 50th winner at Glorious Goodwood yesterday when Namibian battled gamely to win the Group 3 Gordon Stakes.

GOODWOOD, ENGLAND // Mark Johnston secured his 50th winner at Glorious Goodwood yesterday when Namibian battled gamely to win the Group 3 Gordon Stakes.

Johnston had entered Namibian and Dordogne in the 2,400m contest but at the last minute he pulled the latter out as a period of rain earlier in the day meant the going would not suit him.

The jockey Silvestre de Sousa looked to have judged the pace incorrectly as his nine other rivals tracked Phillip Makin aboard Well Sharp, who crawled up the hill.

Once the field reached the long straight, however, De Sousa angled out for a run 400m from the line.

Ryan Moore gave chase aboard Fiorente and the two set about driving to the finishing post.

"I knew he would stay at the finish and he's outstayed his rival well," Johnston said.

"It's great to have a winner on the board so early in the meeting."

Namibian, owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, was making his seventh start of 2011, and he won the Queen's Vase over 3,200m at Royal Ascot last month.

Johnston is likely now to aim Namibian at the St Leger at Doncaster in September, a race Conduit and Sixties Icon took after winning here in 2006 and 2008.

"I was surprised after Ascot that he wasn't mentioned for the Leger," Johnston said.

"I don't think you need to be an out-and-out stayer to win the Queen's Vase and we have proved that today.

"I haven't discussed the options yet with the owner. Obviously the owner has to be involved in that decision.

"But I have no doubt that the one mile, six furlongs is his right trip."

sports@thenational.ae