Mark Johnston posts another stakes winner - but this time as breeder
Shamardal filly Sheikha Reika scores in the John Musker Fillies' Stakes
We recently featured an interview with Mark Johnston where the trainer gave some fascinating insights into how he sourced the material that gave him a record-breaking number of winners as a trainer.
But results on Wednesday illustrated that the master of Kingsley House Stables also has a good eye for breeding-stock.
Johnston is the breeder of Sheikha Reika, who stepped out of handicap company to run out a smooth winner of the Listed EBF Stallions John Musker Fillies' Stakes over ten furlongs at Yarmouth for trainer Roger Varian and owner Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum.
He did so by sending his Tobougg mare Screen Star – who he had trained to win a Redcar maiden by 11 lengths on her sole start at two before she was transferred to Saeed Bin Suroor, for whom she never ran – to Kildangan Stud flagship sire Shamardal.
Johnston also sent out Shamardal to wide-margin victories in the Vintage Stakes and Dewhurst in his unbeaten juvenile season, and retains the right to send the horse one mare each year.
Shamardal, who would go on to take the Poule d'Essai des Poulains, Prix du Jockey Club and St James's Palace Stakes at three for Saeed Bin Suroor, now has 120 stakes winners on his record thanks to Sheikha Reika.
Johnston sourced Screen Star in foal to Exceed And Excel for 52,000gns from the Darley draft at the Tattersalls December Breeding-Stock Sale in 2013, when her Darley-bred daughter Lumiere – also by Shamardal – was a foal. Lumiere would land the Cheveley Park Stakes for the trainer two years later.
The episode also highlights Johnston's financial acumen, as he sold Sheikha Reika to Varian for 550,000gns at Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale in 2016, a year after Lumiere had earned her Group 1 laurels, and weeks later back at Park Paddocks sold an Authorized colt foal out of Screen Star to Godolphin for 90,000gns. He has since been exported to Japan.
Most spectacularly of all, Johnston also sold Screen Star herself – in foal to Golden Horn – for 675,000gns at the mares' sale at Tattersalls that year.
Ballylinch Stud was the winning bidder, and that operation is offering the subsequent Golden Horn colt out of the mare as lot 99 at Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale next month.
The 13-year-old Screen Star, a half-sister to Champion Bumper runner-up Sophocles whose third dam is the very first Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Outstandingly, has produced four winners from six runners in total.
As well as the Golden Horn yearling, Ballylinch Stud also has a filly foal out of Screen Star by the operation's standout stallion Lope De Vega, and the mare returned to him this year.
The mating looks a logical one on paper, as Lope De Vega is by Shamardal, the sire of Lumiere and Sheikha Reika.
Sheikha Reika is not the first stakes winner bred by Johnston, as he is also responsible for the stakes winners Parkview Love and Zazera.