One win away: Mark Johnston closes in on becoming Britain's winningmost trainer
Mark Johnston is just one winner away from becoming Britain's winningmost trainer after a double on Saturday drew him level with Richard Hannon snr's tally of 4,193.
Newcomer Quintada battled on well to win in a maiden at Doncaster before Dr Richard Kimble defied a market drift to make all in the final race at Ripon to level the scores.
It was in many ways a fitting record-equalling success, with the trainer's long-term ally Joe Fanning in familiar pose, dictating from the front on a willing partner.
The jockey said: "I've been with Mark for 20-odd years and he's a great trainer to ride for. He doesn't tie you down and the horses are straightforward, and it's great to get that win."
The trainer then had two opportunities to take the record outright but X Rated lost at Doncaster and Rastacap could manage only fourth at Newmarket.
Johnston had just the one runner in Britain on Sunday, but Lynwood Gold blew the start and could finish only third in the 1m4f handicap at Pontefract.
Although it will not count in the bid to relegate Hannon snr to second place in the all-time British trainers' list, Johnston also runs Marie's Diamond in the Group 1 Prix Morny at Deauville.
Deirdre Johnston, wife of Mark Johnston, speaking at Chelmsford on Friday evening as the Middleham-based operation closed in on the record, said: "We hadn't thought about it much until last week and then it was always on the telly.
"It will be nice to get it out of the way and get back to normal. It is exciting and hopefully brings a bit of press coverage to our sport. If we can help with that, that's brilliant."
The Johnston juggernaut rolls on to Leicester on Monday, when he has three declared runners.
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