Roaring Lion Colt Becomes Mark Johnston's 5,000th Winner

Mark Johnston

Ahmad Al Shaikh's twice-raced 2-year-old colt Dubai Mile (Ire) (Roaring Lion–Beach Bunny {Ire}, by High Chaparral {Ire}), a €20,000 Goffs Orby graduate, notched a landmark score for Mark Johnston when making all in Wednesday's British Stallion Studs EBF Restricted Novice S. at Kempton. The March-foaled chestnut, who was let go as the 6-5 favourite, became the trainer's 5,000th winner when annexing the one-mile test by an impressive four lengths from 13-8 market rival Super Mo (Uncle Mo).

1st-Kempton, £6,800, Nov, 8-24, 2yo, 8f (AWT), 1:42.35, st/sl.
DUBAI MILE (IRE) (c, 2, Roaring Lion–Beach Bunny {Ire} {SW & G1SP-Ire, $263,884}, by High Chaparral {Ire}), a €20,000 Goffs Orby graduate penalised seven pounds for breaking through in an extended-mile test at Windsor earlier this month, broke sharply and raced on the lead from flagfall here. Scrubbed along to maintain control approaching the final quarter mile, the 6-5 favourite was safely clear passing the eighth pole and kept on powerfully in the closing stages to easily defeat 13-8 market rival Super Mo (Uncle Mo) by an impressive four lengths, becoming trainer Mark Johnston's 5,000th winner. “I liked him a lot when I won on him at Windsor, he was fairly raw and made his own running that day too,” said rider Daniel Muscutt of the G2 Royal Lodge S. entry. “He didn't really engage until horses came to him last time and he put himself in the right position again today. He travelled much smoother through the early part of the race, with a bit of company, and as soon as I gave him the office in the straight he dropped his head to the floor and galloped away. That seems to be a trait of the few Roaring Lions I have ridden. He's a big baby and has plenty of scope and, next year, he'll be a nice 3-year-old over a little bit further. He's got a great action, he's a well-balanced colt and covers a lot of ground. He's a nice horse and, hopefully, he'll keep improving.” Reflecting on his unique achievement, Johnston added, “It's obviously a bit different from breaking the [British] record in 2018, you could say no one has reached 4,194 winners, so it's not as if I'm breaking new ground. It's just another landmark and setting the bar higher for people to try to reach. The main thing is the whole business revolves around winners and a lot of winners means a lot of happy owners and, hopefully, we can continue doing the same thing. The most important thing is Charlie's now getting credit for something that he's been doing for quite some time in the business. It's certainly part of the plan that he will take over at some stage in the relatively near future, but we don't know when that will be.” Dubai Mile is the ninth foal and winner produced by stakes-winning G1 Pretty Polly S. runner-up Beach Bunny (Ire) (High Chaparral {Ire}), herself the leading performer out of an unraced half to G1 1000 Guineas heroine Miss France (Ire) (Dansili {GB}). The March-foaled chestnut is kin to stakes-winning dual Group 3 placegetter Naadirr (Ire) (Oasis Dream {GB}), Listed Naas Fillies Sprint victrix Beach Belle (GB) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}) and a weanling colt by Sottsass (Fr). Beach Belle, in turn, is the dam of Listed King Charles II S. winner Surf Dancer (Ire) (Lope De Vega {Ire}). Sales history: €20,000 Ylg '21 GOFOR. Lifetime Record: 3-2-0-0, $9,379.
O-Ahmad Al Shaikh; B-Skymarc Farm (IRE); T-Charlie & Mark Johnston.

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