Mildenberger to set tone for potential Johnston juvenile jamboree
Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes | Group 2 | 1m | 2yo colts & geldings | ITV/RUK
Mildenberger will attempt to kick off what could prove a pivotal day for Mark Johnston's two-year-old team as the colt seeks to establish his credentials as a leading middle-distance hope for next year.
Buoyed by the victory of Elarqam in Thursday's Somerville Tattersalls Stakes, the stable, which also ran Nyaleti in Friday's Rockfel Stakes, have claims in each of Saturday's juvenile Group races.
Mildenberger has won three of his four starts, suffering his only defeat behind the impressive Expert Eye at Glorious Goodwood, where he did not start well.
He made amends in the Listed Stonehenge Stakes at Salisbury, a race Elm Park captured before landing the Royal Lodge and Racing Post Trophy three years ago.
Johnston's son Charlie said: "It's very pleasing and a good advert for the yard in that there are five two-year-old Group races over the weekend at Newmarket and we are the only stable in the country with a representative in all of them.
"Mildenberger will go very well. We really like him and he's getting better with racing. He was quite badly behaved before the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood so we took measures to address that at Salisbury.
"He's starting to grow up with more experience and I think he'll be a cracking middle-distance horse next year. He was only just starting to get on top in the last strides at Salisbury and this trip is already a bare minimum."
Aidan O'Brien provides the main opposition to a Johnston sweep and will saddle Nelson, a son of Frankel and close relative of US Army Ranger. He won a Group 3 prize on Irish Champions Day by three lengths.
The trainer said: "He won a Group 3 over the trip very well at Leopardstown last time. We've been happy with him since and he's a good, solid colt who has improved with every run."
Roaring Lion, representing Elm Park connections Qatar Racing, has won two novice events, the latest when skating up by six lengths at Kempton. He will not be suited by any further rain at Newmarket.
Trainer John Gosden said: "As a US-bred, we hope it dries up a bit for him but we've been pleased with his progress since Kempton and he goes there in good shape."
Petrus was fourth behind Expert Eye on debut before getting off the mark at Sandown in July.
His trainer Brian Meehan said: "His form looks very strong, he has been extremely pleasing at home and he's entitled to this step up in grade."