December 5, 2011 at 17:04 #20428TuffersMember
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Just picked up the news on Twitter. Anyone have any further details?December 5, 2011 at 17:31 #381222GodolphinArabianMember
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Johnston returns to jumps racing
Mark Johnston claims improved levels of prize-money have lured him back to jumps racing.
The Middleham handler has only saddled a clutch a National Hunt horses since the turn of the century. He did, though, win the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle with Star Rage in 1997.
But Johnston will return to the jumps circuit this season, for which he has three horses primed to compete over hurdles – with Bowdler’s Magic due to line up at Huntingdon on Thursday.
He said: "When I last had runners over jumps the prize-money was so bad. I remember sending horses to the races for next to no prize-money. I decided it was a bad job.
"In recent years, prize-money has swung around and it is arguably better than on the Flat, particularly when you compare it to the all-weather prize-money, which is just ridiculous.
"We are better off running these horses over jumps so we are going to give it a go with three decent horses. If this worked very well, we enjoyed it and the owners did then we might have some more, but I’m not expecting to."
Johnston’s two other hurdling recruits are Becausewecan and Tartan Gunna.
Flat stable-star Jukebox Jury, dead-heat winner of the Irish St Leger, will return to England in the new year after finishing lame in the Melbourne Cup last month.
Johnston told the Daily Mail: "Jukebox Jury is in Australia with a big bandage on his leg but the reports are good and he should be home by the end of January. He suffered a fracture of his cannon bone.
"The Ascot Gold Cup is in our minds but you couldn’t go straight there so we can’t say he’ll definitely make it. The long-term plan is the Melbourne Cup again next year."
Copyright © 2011 The Press Association. All rights reserved.December 5, 2011 at 21:19 #381251grey dolphinParticipant
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Tremendous news. Mark Johnston will be a very welcome recruit to the northern jumps scene. Here’s hoping it works for him and he builds it up.December 7, 2011 at 21:20 #381545sporting samParticipant
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Huntingdon is my local pub’s annual xmas excursion.
I’m attending a family wedding so won’t be at the races this time.
Some very good flat horses He’s got there, going jumping and good to see Mark sending one down to East Anglia. I’m sure they will be placed to good effect and some of his many Owners may be tempted into NH. Its a win win situation and the presence of a top flat trainer at meetings entering his horses in NH races will be interesting.
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