MARK JOHNSTON relied upon tried and tested tactics to mastermind Buratino’s scintillating success for Yorkshire on day one of Royal Ascot.
The Middleham handler has never been afraid to run his horses in order to gain invaluable experience and this was the Sheikh Mohammed-owned colt’s sixth start since the end of March when winning on the opening day of the Flat campaign.
Now ante-post favourite for next year’s Qipco 2000 Guineas, the two-year-old Buratino travelled with effortless ease in the six furlong Coventry Stakes for equine stars of the future just 10 days after the horse confirmed his promise by winning an informative renewal of the Woodcote Stakes at Epsom.
A lucky 13th success at the Royal meeting for big race jockey William Buick, it was a 38th triumph for Johnston. Only Sir Michael Stoute and Aidan O’Brien, amongst current trainers, have saddled more winners at the festival of racing.
“When he won on the first day of the season at Chelmsford, Simon Crisford, the former Godolphin racing manager, said put him away for Ascot, but I think they need experience and when Attraction won the Queen Mary she’d run a few times,” explained Johnston, who also trained the fourth and fifth in the race. “When you go to Ascot you need experience under your belt. William has now ridden him three times and the horse has got better in his estimation and given him a better feel. He’s a different horse now.”
This was a significant win for Buick as the Northern Racing College graduate is in his first full season as a Godolphin retained rider. “I had a lot of belief in him after the Woodcote, but fair play to Mark Johnston as he’s come on for every run,” said the rider. As for Sheikh Mohammed, he said of Buratino: “He’s a very good horse, he’s improving. Mark Johnston has done very well with him.”