Mark Johnston has become Britain's winningmost trainer after Poet’s Society won at York’s Ebor Festival yesterday (23 August), taking his total tally of wins to an incredible 4,194.
He had been sitting level with Richard Hannon Senior’s previous record of 4,193.
Here are some interesting facts about the country’s most successful trainer to date…
1. Written in the stars: He was born in Scotland in 1959 and got his love of racing from his father, who owned racehorses. From the age of 14, Mark knew he was destined to become a racehorse trainer.
2. He is also a vet: Mark is unique within the training ranks because he is also a qualified vet. A young Mark put his training dream on temporary hold to complete his studies. On qualifying, he worked in a veterinary practice for three years.
His current training yard is the only one in the country to employ two full-time vets — in addition to Mark himself — and all their costs are covered in the daily training fees.
3. Family life: In 1985, he married his childhood sweetheart, Deirdre, who is now his assistant trainer. Together they have two sons, Charlie and Angus — Charlie is also his assistant trainer.
4. His first winner: Mark purchased his first training yard in 1986, which was in Lincolnshire. He was granted a trainer’s licence in 1987 and sent out his first winner, Hinari Video, that summer. During the 1994 season, Mark enjoyed his first century of winners.
5. An impressive tally: For 22 consecutive Flat seasons, Mark has trained more than 100 winners, including success in Classics and numerous Group One races.
He has also won the 1,000 Guineas (Attraction in 2004) and the 2,000 Guineas (Mister Baileys in 1994), the Ascot Gold Cup three times and the Goodwood Cup five times.
6. Top-class facilities: In 1988, Mark and Deirdre moved to Middleham where they bought the Kingsley House yard. It was to be the start of a flourishing training career that has gone from strength-to-strength.
The set up has been extended to a further two yards, set amid the stunning Yorkshire Dales and offering hi-tech equipment for the horses and some of the finest facilities in the country.
The facilities include three separate grass gallops, plus an all-weather gallop; an equine swimming pool; covered horse walkers, five lunge rings, weighbridges and practise starting stalls, all set in 270 acres of land.
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