Big summer ahead for Sir Ron Priestley after Jockey Club win over Pyledriver
It has always been something of a family business at Kingsley House Stables for Britain’s winningmost trainer Mark Johnston and outside his own family it is becoming increasingly clear that there is another one stamping its mark on the yard.
Two sons and two daughters of the mare Reckoning reside at Johnston’s yard and one of them – Sir Ron Priestley – added yet more success to the family when making all in the Group 2 Betfair Exchange Jockey Club Stakes under Franny Norton.
As well as Sir Ron Priestley, his younger siblings Subjectivist, a Group 1 winner last year, Alba Rose, a Group 2-placed juvenile who lines up in the Betfair Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket on Sunday, and a two-year-old filly by Ulysses will be representing Johnston this year, which is something the trainer is clearly relishing.
He said: "It’s a lovely family and we have the two-year-old this year as well as the other three. The family seems to get better with age and we thought we had a real team for the Cup races with him and his brother, but looking at this you wouldn’t rule him out running really well in those top middle distance races.
"I wouldn’t rule out the Yorkshire Cup as it’s reasonable money in these times, but then races like the Hardwicke and King George would be what I’d have in mind for him.”
Appleby plunders Palace
The Group 3 Palace House Stakes was one of the few races which was maintained on the 2,000 Guineas card a year ago and Lazuli provided Charlie Appleby with a first win in the sprint.
The progressive four-year-old hit the ground running for the season when powering out of the Dip under William Buick to hold the late surge of Came From The Dark.
Lazuli could follow the path of previous winners such as Mabs Cross and Marsha and tackle the Group 1 King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot next month, although he would have to be supplemented.
Appleby said: "Lazuli bruised his foot on the morning of Super Saturday in March and we had to scratch him. He was race-fit before that and we kept him going in Dubai so that he was straight enough when he arrived off the plane."
He added of his pre-race demeanour: "He's a genuine sprinter and what I like about him is he walks around the paddock switched off which is unusual for a sprinter. That was a decent performance under a penalty."
Earlier, the same combination bagged the opening 6f handicap with Creative Force to set himself up for a possible tilt at Listed or Group company.
The Shadwell-owned Mohaafeth was cut to 8-1 (from 33) by Ladbrokes for the Cazoo Derby after trouncing his rivals in the Listed Betfair Newmarket Stakes.
The ten-furlong contest has an impressive roll of honour, including Mishriff last year, and William Haggas could have a similarly classy type after this five-length rout.
Haggas said: "While it is all very exciting and very nice to see him win like that you have to wonder what the form is like, but he's improving and that's the most important thing.
"He's bred to be good and looked better each time he has run. We don’t know whether he would stay but the Derby is a very tempting proposition."
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