• Most notable mover on Thoroughbred Racing Commentary global rankings
+5 Mark Johnston
Contrail’s move to world number one on the world list may have been last week’s primary equine achievement but we cannot let this opportunity pass without recognising Mark Johnston’s G1 double over the weekend in Paris.
Let’s be clear, we bow to nobody in our admiration and respect for Britain’s record-breaking trainer, which is why it comes as a bit of a shock to find that he hadn’t struck at the top level for more than four years – since The Last Lion’s Middle Park Stakes victory in September 2016 to be precise.
But what is it they say about London buses? Middleham maestro MDJ may have been waiting ages for a G1 success but two came along at once in Paris over the weekend, as James Doyle partnered Derby prospect Gear Up to win the Criterium de Saint-Cloud on Saturday before Joe Fanning did the steering on all-the-way winner Subjectivist in the Prix Royal-Oak 24 hours later at ParisLongchamp.
The latter race is France’s St Leger, so Johnston can claim another Classic success to add to one he was handed recently by the stewards in Italy in the shape of the Derby Italiano. King’s Caper may have been touched off under Frankie Dettori but the ‘winner’ Tuscan Gaze has been disqualified over what is believed to be an entries mix-up. The result is on appeal.
Although other people got bigger points boosts lower down the scale, Johnston is back in the World Top 30 (+5pt, #26 from #32).
Elsewhere, with the Melbourne spring carnival in full swing, significant moves are to be expected down under.
Though he was beaten into second on Armory behind Sir Dragonet in the Cox Plate, Ben Melham (+9pt, #30 from #33) continues his stealthy progress up the jockeys’ rankings, where Cox Plate-winning jockey Glen Boss (+6pt, #57 from #72) and world number one female Jamie Kah (+6pt, #68 from #77) also move in the right direction.
There was a surfeit of G1 racing in South America last weekend, resulting in major boosts for jockey Mariano Arenas (+13pt, #233 from #422) in Peru plus Nelson Santos (+12pt, #203 from #312) and Michael Silva (+12pt, #238 from #432) for big-race wins in Sao Paulo.
Fabio Branca (+11pt, #113 from #174) had a couple of winners on Sunday’s valuable card at San Siro in Milan, notably easy winner Vis A Vis in Italy’s top two-year-old race, the Gran Criterium.
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