Johnston takes the trainers’ crown at Goodwood

The Betfred Irish Stallion Farms E.B.F. Nursery Stakes was won by Empiricist, ridden by Pat Dobbs  Picture by Spencer Gale
The Betfred Irish Stallion Farms E.B.F. Nursery Stakes was won by Empiricist, ridden by Pat Dobbs Picture by Spencer Gale

It might have been John Dunlop’s day at Goodwood’s season finale - but it was Mark Johnston’s too.

Arundel stalwart Dunlop was centre of attention as he undertook his last visit as a trainer to his local track before he retires at the end of the season.

A presentation by Lord March saw the crowd show their appreciation of Dunlop’s contribution to racing - and Goodwood in particular - over more than four decades.

Dunlop couldn’t mark his final race card on the Downs with a win - but Johnston did find a winner to ensure he finally wrestled the Dick Hern Trophy out of the long-standing grasp of Richard Hannon.

Hannon has been Goodwood’s top trainer for each of the past four seasons but despite fiding ten winners this season - one a dead-heat - Hannon couldn’t catch Johnston, whose one win on Sunday took his total for the year to 12.

Johnston’s success was a big-priced one too - Jason Maguire coming first past the post on Tartan Jura at 16/1 in the Betfred Bigger And Better Goals Galore Alderbrook Stakes, the opening race on the card and Goodwood’s annual contest for national hunt jockeys.

Elsewhere on the final day there was a late back-to-back double for Dane O’Neill, who won the Goodwood Racehorse Owners Group Stakes on 7/2 favourite Nicholascopernicus and followed it with a 16/1 win on First Post in the Lavant House School Diamond Jubilee Stakes.

See the Chichester Observer on Thursday for a report and pictures from Goodwood, plus MD Adam Waterworth’s last Diary from the Downs for 2012.