Fullbright makes it five for Johnston
04 Aug 2012 | Mark Johnston made it win number five at this year's Glorious Goodwood meeting, and 55 in all, when Fulbright won the £125,000 Betfred Mile by a fairly comfortable length and a quarter under Silvestre de Sousa. It was the trainer's fourth victory this week in a handicap.
This is likely to be Fulbright's last appearance in handicap company. "At this sort of level you shouldn't really be trying to beat the handicapper," said Johnston, "but he was well in [6lb on BHA ratings] and we had to have a go. But I would think it will be Group races from now on."
The distance for the step up in grade for the son of Exceed And Excel has yet to be debated. The three-year-old won over six furlongs on his two previous outings.
"I wasn't at all confident he'd stay the mile," said Johnston. "When he won over seven furlong earlier in the year, Silvestre felt he would get a mile. Then we took him back to six and, hey presto, he won twice, and we all got confused. There were doubts in my mind and frankly I didn't have a clue."
Johnston's horses have run into form for one of his favourite meetings. "I thought it would be a tough week," he added. "We had a lot of darts to throw at the board but I thought we'd be doing well with two winners."
Fulbright, Johnston's fifth success in the Betfred Mile, carries the colours of Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum, whose uncle Sheikh Ahmed oversaw the Olympic gold medal victory of Peter Wilson in the trap shooting. Taking dead aim seems a family trait.
De Sousa added: "Mr Johnston's horses are just hitting form and the yard is going brilliantly, so I am delighted that he gave me the opportunity to ride this fellow here today.
"There was plenty of speed in the race but this horse has won over six and seven furlongs, so I never had a doubt that he had the speed to go where I wanted to be in the race.
"I was tracking the leaders but he was enjoying being there, so I let him join the race.
"He is a nice improving horse and Mr Johnston has done a marvellous job with him. I am delighted for the whole team."
Silvestre De Sousa notched his first win at this year's Glorious Goodwood when Fulbright landed the valuable Betfred Mile.
In doing so the Mark Johnston-trained colt confirmed his versatility, for his two most recent races resulted in victory over six furlongs.
Ahead of today's race, De Sousa had told Johnston a mile was within the colt's comfort zone, and he said: "I won on him over seven furlongs [at Newmarket in June] and told Mr Johnston he would stay further, but he opted to go the other way and drop him to six. He won two races at that trip so I'm pleased we were both right.
"He's a kind of horse you can drop him back or stay over a mile because he has bags of speed [he is a son of Exceed And Excel, a top-class sprinter] and has done everything right so far. I think he will be able to land a Group race.
"I planned to be just behind the leaders today, but he showed me plenty of speed and things worked out well.
"We went a nice pace early on and Mr Johnston's horses are in great form so I was confident that when I made my move he would stay in front. I'm thrilled to have a winner at Glorious Goodwood, especially on this horse."
£125,000 Betfred Mile Heritage Handicap (1600m) For 3yo+, 1st £77,812.50 2nd £23,300.00 3rd £11,650.00 4th £5,825.00 5th £2,912.50 6th £1,462.50
1) FULBRIGHT (Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum) Mark Johnston 3-8-13 Silvestre De Sousa  7/1
2) MABAIT (Khalifa Dasmal) David Simcock 6-8-06 Alice Haynes (7)  33/1
3) MISTER MUSIC (Longview Stud & Bloodstock Ltd) Richard Hannon 3-8-11 Richard Hughes  25/1
4) BOOM AND BUST (IRE) (Jas Singh) Marcus Tregoning 5-9-03 Hayley Turner  20/1
5) EXCELLENT GUEST (John Guest Racing) George Margarson 5-9-02 Tom Queally 
6) SIR REGINALD (Jim McGrath) Richard Fahey 4-8-13 Paul Hanagan 
7) SWIFTLY DONE (IRE) (D Watts, Miss C King, J Syme & M Syme) Declan Carroll 5-8-12 Graham Gibbons 
8) BELGIAN BILL (PJL, Cooper & Baker) George Baker t4-9-03 Johnny Murtagh 
9) VAINGLORY (USA) (David Simcock) David Simcock 8-8-10 Martin Lane 
10) PRINCE OF JOHANNE (IRE) (David Storey) Tom Tate p6-9-05 Darren Egan (5) 
11) FIELD OF DREAM (Ken Gundlach) Jamie Osborne b5-9-06 Jamie Spencer 
12) BANNOCK (IRE) (Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum) Mark Johnston 3-9-04 Joe Fanning 
13) CAPTAIN BERTIE (IRE) (A L R Morton) Charlie Hills 4-8-11 Michael Hills  6/1 Fav
14) ALBAQAA (Racing To The Max) P J O'Gorman 7-8-11 Kieran O'Neill 
15) MEMORY CLOTH (Racing Management & Training Ltd) Brian Ellison 5-9-00 Dale Swift (3) 
16) DECENT FELLA (IRE) (One Carat Partnership) Andrew Balding vt6-9-00 Jimmy Fortune 
17) XILERATOR (IRE) (J Law) David Nicholls 5-8-13 Adrian Nicholls 
18) JOHNNY CASTLE (George Materna & John McInerney) Amanda Perrett 4-9-00 Ryan Moore 
19) MADAM MACIE (IRE) (Direct Racing Club) David O'Meara 5-9-00 Daniel Tudhope 
20) SMARTY SOCKS (IRE) (Direct Racing Club) David O'Meara 8-9-04 Kieren Fallon 
20 ran Non-Runner: Trade Commissioner (Self Cert (Not Eaten Up) - replaced by first reserve Vainglory)
Time: 1m 37.70s Distances: 1¼, 1¼, hd, sh, ¾, sh, ¾, ½, sh, 1, ½, 1¼, sh, ½, ¾, hd, 1, 14, 11
Breeder: Robin & Scarlet Knipe Breeding: b c Exceed And Excel (AUS) - Lindfield Belle (IRE) (Fairy King (USA))