Mark Johnston Relinquishes Licence as Son Charlie Goes Solo

Charlie & Mark Johnston |

Britain's winningmost trainer Mark Johnston is set to cease training under a joint-licence on Jan. 1, 2023 and cede his licence. His son Charlie, with whom he has trained in partnership throughout 2022, will now hold the licence solely. However, the elder Johnston and his wife, Deirdre, will continue in their roles at Johnson Racing, Ltd. Charlie has a number of entries in his own name for the first week of 2023.

The Johnstons released the following statement to the TDN on Friday, “With effect from 1st Jan. 2023, the training partnership of Charlie and Mark Johnston will cease to exist and horses under the care of Johnston Racing Limited will be trained under a single training licence held by Charlie Johnston.

“While the training partnership has served a purpose and we have enjoyed another excellent year on the track, we have felt that Charlie's achievements have not been fully recognised and, as the move to a single licence in his name was inevitable at some stage, we now feel that there is nothing to gain by further delay.

“Notwithstanding Mark's name being removed from the training licence, Mark and Deirdre Johnston will continue to work, full-time, in Johnston Racing Limited and will fulfil the same roles in the business as they have done in recent years.”

Mark, who began training in February of 1987, celebrated his 5,000th winner with Dubai Mile (Ire) (Roaring Lion) in August. That colt would go on to claim the G1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud on Oct. 22 and become the 27th top-level winner for Johnston and the first for his son.

In 2022, the Johnstons' string has made 1262 runs, which resulted in 174 wins and earnings of over £2.9 million. Other 2022 highlights for the duo include Living Legend (Ire) (Camelot {GB})'s victory in the G2 Jockey Club S., smart handicapper Soapy Stevens (GB) (Harzand {Ire}), I'm A Gambler (Ire) (No Nay Never)'s victory in the Listed Guisborough S., and the multiple group-placed efforts of Thunderous (Ire) (Night Of Thunder {Ire}).

“Nothing has really changed in terms of our roles,” Mark Johnston told PA Sport. “They will continue. I just didn't feel that the joint-licence worked. It served a purpose and I'm not saying they shouldn't have joint-licences, I just felt it was a bit of a limbo.

“When we had big successes, Charlie wasn't getting credit for the part he plays. I just felt that if we were to have a spectacular winner somewhere, it wouldn't be quite the same as being an individual.

“We went to a joint-licence at the beginning of last year and the plan was it would be at least three or four years, but I just felt there was no point. I just felt it should be one name.”

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