Charlie Johnston talks of 'fantastic opportunity' as his father Mark steps aside

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Mark Johnston (left) is stepping aside with his son Charlie (right) taking over the licence (Image: Getty)
Mark Johnston (left) is stepping aside with his son Charlie (right) taking over the licence (Image: Getty)

Charlie Johnston vowed to make the most of “a fantastic opportunity” as he saddles the first runner of his training career at Lingfield Park on Monday.

Johnston, who trained on a joint-licence with his record-breaking father Mark in 2022, sets out in his own name as Ray Of Colours contests the Spreadex Sports Get £40 In Bonuses Maiden Stakes.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity and I certainly won’t be resting on my laurels – if you don’t aim to improve, then things will only go backwards,” said Johnston Jnr.

“I’ve had a huge head start, taking over the facilities, the staff and the horses and it’s an exciting year ahead.”

Mark Johnston is in racing’s history books as the sport’s winning-most trainer in Britain, surpassing then-record holder Richard Hannon snr’s total of 4,193 victories when Poet’s Society and Frankie Dettori scored at York’s Ebor meeting in August 2018.

Johnston snr, a Classic winner via Mister Baileys in the 2,000 Guineas of 1994 and 1,000 Guineas heroine Attraction a decade later, saddled the 5,000 th triumph of his career when Dubai Mile won at Kempton Park in August.

Charlie Johnston talks of 'fantastic opportunity' as his father Mark steps aside rriqudirriezinvMark Johnston has handed in his licence and son Charlie will train in his own name (Getty)

But, setting his sights on the task of garnering more success for the Kingsley Park stable in Middleham, Charlie Johnston, who will continue to work with his father, added: “We will always be striving for more winners, better horses and better winners to push the business forward.”

Franny Norton’s mount followed a debut last of 14 at Kempton Park in November with a fourth of five at Wolverhampton 12 days later.

“He hasn’t been laid out for the job,” said the colt’s trainer. “It’s likely he will be seen to better effect in handicap company.”

Johnston Snr has stressed that he is not retiring and will still play a pivotal role in the huge training operation with his son.

David Yates

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15.07.2024, 17:44 • Investigation