High Five as Mark on the Mark
Mark Johnston made it win number five at this year's Glorious Goodwood meeting, and 55 in all, when Fulbright won the £125,000 Betfred Mile by a fairly comfortable length and a quarter under Silvestre de Sousa. It was the trainer's fourth victory this week in a handicap.
This is likely to be Fulbright's last appearance in handicap company. "At this sort of level you shouldn't really be trying to beat the handicapper," said Johnston, "but he was well in [6lb on BHA ratings] and we had to have a go. But I would think it will be Group races from now on."
The distance for the step up in grade for the son of Exceed And Excel has yet to be debated. The three-year-old won over six furlongs on his two previous outings.
"I wasn't at all confident he'd stay the mile," said Johnston. "When he won over seven furlong earlier in the year, Silvestre felt he would get a mile. Then we took him back to six and, hey presto, he won twice, and we all got confused. There were doubts in my mind and frankly I didn't have a clue."
Johnston's horses have run into form for one of his favourite meetings. "I thought it would be a tough week," he added. "We had a lot of darts to throw at the board but I thought we'd be doing well with two winners."
Fulbright, Johnston's fifth success in the Betfred Mile, carries the colours of Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum, whose uncle Sheikh Ahmed oversaw the Olympic gold medal victory of Peter Wilson in the trap shooting. Taking dead aim seems a family trait.
De Sousa added: "Mr Johnston's horses are just hitting form and the yard is going brilliantly, so I am delighted that he gave me the opportunity to ride this fellow here today.
"There was plenty of speed in the race but this horse has won over six and seven furlongs, so I never had a doubt that he had the speed to go where I wanted to be in the race.
"I was tracking the leaders but he was enjoying being there, so I let him join the race.
"He is a nice improving horse and Mr Johnston has done a marvellous job with him. I am delighted for the whole team."
DE SOUSA BEAMS BRIGHTLY AFTER FULBRIGHT'S BETFRED MILE WIN
Silvestre De Sousa notched his first win at this year's Glorious Goodwood when Fulbright landed the valuable Betfred Mile.
In doing so the Mark Johnston-trained colt confirmed his versatility, for his two most recent races resulted in victory over six furlongs.
Ahead of today's race, De Sousa had told Johnston a mile was within the colt's comfort zone, and he said: "I won on him over seven furlongs [at Newmarket in June] and told Mr Johnston he would stay further, but he opted to go the other way and drop him to six. He won two races at that trip so I'm pleased we were both right.
"He's a kind of horse you can drop him back or stay over a mile because he has bags of speed [he is a son of Exceed And Excel, a top-class sprinter] and has done everything right so far. I think he will be able to land a Group race.
"I planned to be just behind the leaders today, but he showed me plenty of speed and things worked out well.
"We went a nice pace early on and Mr Johnston's horses are in great form so I was confident that when I made my move he would stay in front. I'm thrilled to have a winner at Glorious Goodwood, especially on this horse."
DRAW COSTS MISTER MUSIC IN BETFRED MILE
The heavily-supported Fulbright, trained by Mark Johnston, ran out a comfortable winner of the Betfred Mile under Silvestre De Sousa. David Simcock's Mabait finished second, beaten a length and a quarter, while Mister Music, trained by Richard Hannon, flew home to take third under Richard Hughes from a wide draw.
Last year's winning Boom And Bust ran another creditable race to finish just over two and half lengths behind the winner in fourth.
Simcock said: "Mabait works very well at home and he is a happy horse. It was a smashing run and he just found one too good for him."
Hannon said: "I am happy with that run from Mister Music but we were unlucky we didn't get a good draw because that has cost us the race.
"He is a lovely horse to have and if you look where he has come from - it's unbelievable.
"He is a good horse and we will look at another big handicap with him because, providing the handicapper doesn't move him, he will win one of these.
"He is bordering on Listed class."