Wide draw no problem for Johan with winning return after long absence

Last year’s Lincoln hero Johan made light of 293 days off the track and a wide draw to lift the £150,000 Coral Golden Mile at Goodwood.

A 28-1 winner of the big Doncaster handicap, he had only been seen twice since, with his latest run coming in the Balmoral Handicap at Ascot on Champions Day.

Sent on his way here at 25-1 and partnered by James Doyle, Jack Channon’s charge was always prominent and after edging in front over a furlong out he always looked to be holding the late charge of The Gatekeeper, winning by half a length.

Channon said: “It’s been a bit of a long road since the Lincoln last year, and we unearthed a little bit of an issue he had in his back sort of midway through last summer. We tried a few different things, but thanks to our brilliant vets at home, Charlie Schreiber in particular, we came up with a solution for it.

“We got it done in the spring and all summer he has been absolutely starting to just show himself to be the old horse. Coming into this week we sort of pin-pointed this race and thought this was going to be the perfect place to start, then when we got (stall) 18 I thought, ‘Oh God, here we go’. He’s a very, very talented horse and I was delighted to see him do that.

“To be able to produce it on the big days, I know I keep saying it, but Alana who rides him every day at home – she’s done an amazing job on him – and all the guys who looked after him through that period where he was injured have done an amazing job.

Channon is continuing to make a name for himself in his own right, having taken over the training licence from his father, Mick.

“Dad’s done it for 30 years, and to be able to prove to everyone that you can do it as well, it’s a massive monkey off the back as it were.”

He joked that “Dad tells me when I’m wrong all the time, basically!”, before adding: “He’s an integral part. I know I keep saying it, but that was a massive team performance from everyone at West Ilsley. He hasn’t been the easiest to train and to produce him on a day like that was pretty special.”

Doyle said: “It couldn’t have been more straightforward, to be honest. He is a very straightforward horse to ride, so we knew once we got that draw that there was only one thing for us to do really. I think in the conditions today and with the rail being back in the true position, I thought it would be very difficult to take your medicine and try to ride to come home especially with the lack of pace.

“He bounced out the gates super quick, he needed to do that and he did, which was super. We were able to float over next to Hector Crouch on Darkness, and we were able to just control the race. I was a bit of a safety car in second, I let Hector go as slow as he dared while being mindful that every now and again I could feel them coming. It was quite a fun race to ride and very straightforward.”

Source link