Mark Johnston’s Sir Ron Priestley likely to wait until 2020

Sir Ron Priestley ridden by Jockey Franny Norton (left) wins the Unibet Handicap during day two of the Qatar Goodwood Festival. Picture: Adam Davy/PASir Ron Priestley ridden by Jockey Franny Norton (left) wins the Unibet Handicap during day two of the Qatar Goodwood Festival. Picture: Adam Davy/PA
Sir Ron Priestley ridden by Jockey Franny Norton (left) wins the Unibet Handicap during day two of the Qatar Goodwood Festival. Picture: Adam Davy/PA
St Leger runner-up Sir Ron Priestley is unlikely to run again this season as his connections cast eyes forward to a top staying campaign next summer.

The Mark Johnston-trained colt posted a career-best effort when chasing home the unbeaten Logician in the final Classic of the season at Doncaster on his most recent start.

With the son of Australia securing Group Three glory on his penultimate start at Goodwood, which was his fifth victory this term, hopes are high that he can achieve even greater things as a four-year-old.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Charlie Johnston, son and assistant trainer, said: “We always thought he would be performing at this sort of level at the start of the season.

“We went to Royal Ascot thinking he was one of our bankers. But he completely flopped, and it was back to the drawing board.

“He has been a very good staying three-year-old up to a mile and three-quarters, and we hope he will stay that bit further and be a cup horse next season.”

Finishing a place behind Sir Ron Priestley at Town Moor was stablemate Nayef Road, who may have one more outing before the season is out in the Group Two Qatar Prix Chaudenay at ParisLongchamp on October 5.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

York’s Rockingham Stakes is a potential next target for Stone Circle following his lucrative success in Ireland last weekend.

Charlie Johnston. Picture: James Hardisty.Charlie Johnston. Picture: James Hardisty.
Charlie Johnston. Picture: James Hardisty.

The juvenile plundered the best part of 150,000 euros by winning the Tattersalls Ireland Super Auction Sale Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday, getting the better of fellow British raider Maystar in the hands of Andrea Atzeni.

Trainer Michael Bell reports his youngster to have taken those exertions in his stride, and is considering testing the water at Listed level at York’s final meeting of the season on October 12.

“He will run again before the end of the season – the Rockingham at York is a race we’re considering, but we’ll see,” said Bell.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

On Saturday, Angel Alexander sprang a 28-1 surprise when coming down the forecast unfavoured far side to land the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup.

The Tom Dascombe-trained gelding was one of only two three-year-olds in the line-up, but produced the goods to come out on top in one of the most valuable and competitive sprint handicaps in the calendar.

On settling down after the start, Richard Kingscote made the brave decision to keep Angel Alexander as one of only six in the 24-strong field to stick towards the stands side.

It paid dividends with Angel Alexander showing a high draw (24 from 25 declared) was no detriment to success.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Major Jumbo and Gunmetal led the way for the high numbers in the early stages with Justanotherbottle, Staxton and Laugh A Minute among those prominent in the bigger group.

Kingscote made his move over a furlong out and Angel Alexander pulled clear of those around him and had enough in hand to beat the other group, led by Growl (28-1) by half a length.

Gulliver (8-1) was another half-length away in third with his David O’Meara-trained stablemate, Summerghand (11-1), back in fourth place.

“All I can say is Richard gave it an amazing ride,” said Dascombe. “The horse is very genuine. For a three-year-old to win like that – it’s all worked out like a fairytale.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Golden Apollo gave Tim Easterby a second big handicap triumph in 24 hours when landing the William Hill Silver Cup.

The Great Habton trainer struck with Music Society in the Bronze Cup on Friday and Golden Apollo (12-1) repeated the trick over the same six furlongs.

Waarif (11-2) repeated last year’s victory in the William Hill Foundation: Uniting Against Dementia Handicap.

Danny Tudhope switched to the David O’Meara-trained six-year-old after his intended mount, Hortzadar, was a late non-runner.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“He’s very tough,” said Tudhope. “He won this race last year and it’s nice to do it again. He’s won well with a bit in hand.”

Tudhope completed a double on Wise Counsel (7-1) for Lambourn trainer Clive Cox in the Microtech Group Handicap.