Mark Johnston looking forward to Subjectivist rematch at Goodwood

MARK Johnston is relishing the prospect of his Ascot Gold Cup hero Subjectivist having a rematch with dethroned champion Stradivarius at Goodwood next month.

This was Joe Fanning and Subjectivist striding clear to win the Ascot Gold Cup at Royal Ascot last week.

Both stayers feature amongst 27 entries for the £500,000 Group One Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup that will take place on July 27 at the picturesque Sussex track.

And while the two-mile trip is four furlongs shorter than Ascot’s supreme test, both horses have winning form on the undulating track. It appeared, at Ascot, that Subjectivist and his veteran jockey Joe Fanning were already in command when Stradivarius, the mount of Frankie Dettori, encountered trouble in running on the turn for home.

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Middleham-based Johnston has sent out five winners of the Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup, including Double Trigger, who captured the race three times between 1995 and 1998 – a feat surpassed by Stradivarius last year.

Middleham's Mark Johnstron is the trainer of Ascot Gold Cup hero Subjectivist.

“Subjectivist has had a very easy time of it since his run in the Gold Cup. He will have a gradual return back to full work, with the Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup being the next target,” confirmed the North Yorkshire trainer. Looking back at the Gold Cup, it was a very exciting performance. Whichever way you look at it, whether it be the form, the time, the sectional times, the distance he won by, it all points to it being an absolutely top-drawer performance.

“In fairness, his win before that in Dubai was very good, but I suppose everybody is generally slightly sceptical of the Dubai form. But at Ascot he has confirmed it by running a very similar race in terms of style. I don’t think there are any doubts about the horse now.

“It is well-documented that I love the stayers, and it means a huge amount to me personally to have a horse like this. With horses who run in these big two-mile plus races, the big concern is can you keep them sound, but barring any injuries or problems, he is an extremely exciting horse to have.”

Regarding a rematch with Stradivarius, Johnston added: “I think if you read my blog, you will see that I said, ‘Subjectivist was bred by Susan Hearn, Barry Hearn’s wife, and if this was another sport, Barry Hearn would be promoting the rematch and we’d all be making a lot of money out of it!’. But seriously, a big clash between these two horses at Goodwood will be very good for racing.”

This was Joe Fanning and Subjectivist striding clear to win the Ascot Gold Cup at Royal Ascot last week.