Horse Talk with Simon Jackson:
Top horse-racing tips and the latest news.
MARK Johnston has won the Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup five times and is targeting a sixth with Subjectivist in the feature race on the opening day of the Qatar Goodwood Festival.
Subjectivist continued his ascent in long-distance events when scoring by five lengths in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot last week, finishing well clear of three-time Gold Cup winner Stradivarius in fourth place.
The four-year-old Subjectivist has won four of his last five starts, which commenced with victory in a Group 3 at Goodwood last August. He was seventh in the Pertemps St Leger in September and won the Group 1 Prix Royal-Oak at Longchamp in October. He returned this season to land the Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan in March and the Group 1 Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.
Johnston’s previous winners of the Goodwood Cup – which this year carries prize money of £500,000 – were with Double Trigger (1995, 1997, 1998), Royal Rebel (2000) and Darasim (2004). The trainer this week confirmed the Goodwood Cup as the immediate target for his current stable star.
“Subjectivist has had a very easy time of it since his run in the Gold Cup,” Johnston said.
“He will have a gradual return back to full work, with the Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup being the next target.
“Looking back at the Gold Cup, it was a very exciting performance. Whichever way you look at it, whether it be the form, the time, the sectional times, the distance he won by, it all points to it being an absolutely top-draw performance.
“In fairness, his win before that in Dubai was very good, but I suppose everybody is generally slightly sceptical of the Dubai form. But at Ascot he has confirmed it by running a very similar race in terms of style. I don’t think there are any doubts about the horse now.
“It is well-documented that I love the stayers, and it means a huge amount to me personally to have a horse like this.
“With horses who run in these big two-mile plus races, the big concern is can you keep them sound, but barring any injuries or problems, he is an extremely exciting horse to have.”
The Qatar Goodwood Festival runs from Tuesday, July 27 to Saturday, July 31.
Horse Talk with Simon Jackson. Showcasing horse racing in London and the south east.