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Published 30 July 2010

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Glorious Goodwood specialist Mark Johnston, who had drawn a blank on the first two days of the Festival this year, finally got off the mark for 2010 when Eastern Aria took the Moet Hennessy Fillies’ Stakes.

The filly set a new course record of 2m 58.05 seconds when giving Johnston his 48th career success at Glorious Goodwood.

"Everyone was asking me what my best chance was and I had a lot of runners in handicaps over the first couple of days but we were at the mercy of the handicapper so it’s amazing to get the first win in a Group race," said Johnston.

"This filly was the most improved horse in my yard last season by a long way. She went from being a handicapper in the mid 70s to finishing fourth in a Group One.

"I had big hopes for her at the start of this year and made lots of big entries but had to scrap them all. I thought she would be running in Group Ones by now but she had just not been firing at all but now she can have some good entries again.

"I’d like to run her over a mile and a half in the Canadian International at the end of the year but I’m not sure what we will do in between."

More winning quotes

Moet Hennessy Fillies’ Stakes



Richard Hills, the winning rider on Eastern Aria, said: "They went fast and I just slotted her in where she was happy. She really battled it out well at Newmarket and she has come on again here.

"We weren’t sure that she would stay but I rode her like she would she would and I wa really pleased with the way that she picked up at the top of the hill and I didn’t think that anything would catch me then.

"She has a great attitude and everything has just come right for her. I am pleased for myself and pleased for the team - we haven’t had a winner this week. It’s a tough week and it’s nice to have a winner.

"The ground is quick and there was a good strong gallop, so I am not surprised that it was a course record."

Mark Johnston, the winning trainer, added: "It’s very difficult to win handicaps here and the handicappers that I have brought here, whilst being at the top of their game, have been exposed.

"It has also been slightly strange racing this week - the ground is very, very fast and maybe a little loose on top, which doesn’t suit some horses.

"Richard rides Eastern Aria very well. She can be quite difficult because she is very strong and he has got her settled well today. I thought that we would see some improvement over this trip last year but we ended up running her in Canada over a mile and a quarter - clearly an inadequate trip - and she was fourth in a Group One.

"I thought that the sky was the limit after that run but she was not on form at all for the first half of this year and there was almost thoughts of retirement. She has now bounced back as good as ever.

"Her last race was a good one and this one even better. Hopefully, she will keep progressing right to the end of the year like last season. She rose from all-weather handicaps last term right though the ranks to Group One company and we were thinking about Group One races for her this year but it didn’t look like that for a while. It’s back on the cards now."



Fourth Race Placed Quotes

Moet Hennessy Fillies’ Stakes (Registered as the Lillie Langtry Stakes)


Only tough Eastern Aria, who set a track record time, proved too good for Polly’s Mark in the Moet Hennessy Fillies’ Stakes, but trainer Clive Cox remains confident the runner-up will be back in front before long.

After his four-year-old filly had finished second for the third time this season, and fourth in five runs, Cox said of Polly’s Mark: "She’s run great and very consistently, and she got the trip well, but she’s simply been beaten by a better horse.

"The track record speaks for itself and says it was a true-run race and so it was another pleasing performance. I’d say the winner was pretty good and it looks like a strong piece of form. Ours will take her turn [to win] in a minute."

This was Polly’s Mark’s first attempt at a mile and six furlongs, and Cox said: "She’ll be entered at various places, and she’s in at Deauville and in the [Darley] Yorkshire Oaks, so we’ll decide where we will go. She’s effective at a mile and a half to a mile and six furlongs."

The third horse, Motrice, had built up a winning sequence of three, although trainer Sir Mark Prescott and owner Kirsten Rausing will not be too disappointed she was beaten today. In finishing placed, she gained valuable black type that will be vital when she goes to stud.


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