Mark Johnston hopes Goodwood Cup gamble pays dividends

MARK JOHNSTON hopes Sir Ron Priestley can justify his £25,000 supplementary entry fee as the Middleham trainer seeks a sixth win in the Goodwood Cup.

Sir Ron Priestley represents Mark Johnston in the Goodwood Cup.

MARK JOHNSTON hopes Sir Ron Priestley can justify his £25,000 supplementary entry fee as the Middleham trainer seeks a sixth win in the Goodwood Cup.

The late entry was made after stable star Subjectivist suffered a new injury in the wake of last month’s Ascot Gold Cup win.

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The new champion stayer is unlikely to race before next year’s Royal Ascot – assuming he’s not sold in the meantime to a leading stud.

Trainer Mark Johnston.

Yet Johnson still holds Sir Ron Priestley, an older half-brother to Subjectivist, in high regard following a succession of impressive runs.

Second to Logician in the 2019 St Leger, the colt produced one of his best performances to date when landing the Group Two Princess Of Wales’s Tattersalls Stakes at Newmarket.

The question is whether this is good enough to beat Stradivarius who is seeking a fifth successive win in the race – or Trueshan who will relish soft ground.

“We agonised over paying £25,000 to supplement Sir Ron Priestley and I had to convince myself I was doing it for the owner, (Paul Dean) not myself, as there’s some uncertainty about the trip,” said Johnston.

“In the Yorkshire Cup it looked very much as if he didn’t stay, but it’s hard to equate that with his St Leger second or his Nottingham win, and at the beginning of the year we had no doubt he would stay two miles.”

Nayef Road is Johnston’s second runner. “Nayef Road’s recent runs have been mixed, but in some of them he’s shown a glimmer of his best,” added the trainer.

“I don’t think any of us would be surprised if he was in the shake up, but he’d need a personal best and Stradivarius to be below form.”