Johnston team mulling Riyadh date for Mildenberger

Mildenberger could have big assignments in Saudi Arabia and Lingfield following his victory at Wolverhampton.

The Mark Johnston-trained stayer booked his place in the Betway Marathon Championship on All-Weather Finals Day on Good Friday in a fast-track qualifier on Monday.

Before that, the six-year-old could pay a visit to the Middle East for the Long Distance Turf Handicap at Riyadh next month.

“He’ll definitely go to Lingfield on Finals Day and he’s in at Saudi next month,” said Charlie Johnston, assistant to his father.

“I’ll have to clarify how their system works out there as to whether he’ll get a penalty for his win, because at the moment he’s not guaranteed a run. Were they to pump him up the weights slightly, that might get him in.

“Were he to get a run, he could quite possibly go to Saudi. That’s about six weeks before the all-weather finals, so it won’t have any bearing on him going there.”

Prix Royal-Oak winner Subjectivist, the yard’s other entry in the one-mile-seven furlong handicap, has yet to secure a place, much to Johnston’s surprise.

“Subjectivist is in the same race at Saudi. I was a bit perplexed when I saw the entries that our 111-rated last time out Group One winner isn’t guaranteed a run and there are some pretty out of form horses above him in the weights,” he said.

Subjectivist (right) has an entry in Saudi Arabia
Subjectivist (right) has an entry in Saudi Arabia (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“He’s going to need a couple of horses to come out to make sure he gets a run, so we will have to see how that transpires over the next couple of weeks, but he is back in work and we’ve got half an eye on that should he get in.”

Johnston revealed Leopardo is in Dubai and likely to run at Meydan next week. The three-year-old colt has an entry in the Saudi Derby.

“He is out in Dubai and he’ll probably run in the Al Bastakiya Trial next Thursday,” he said.

“He does have an entry in the Saudi Derby, but again he’s not guaranteed a run.”

Mildenberger is determined winner at Wolverhampton

Mildenberger just prevailed in a thrilling tussle with Rainbow Dreamer to edge victory by a head in the Betway Conditions Stakes at Wolverhampton.

Winning jockey Joe Fanning did his best to ensure a modest early pace increased with a circuit to go, taking Mark Johnston’s stayer briefly prominent for the first time as the field passed the stands.

It was a mid-race move which paid off as Outbox and eventual third Nate The Great took the hint and upped the tempo – to Mildenberger’s advantage by the time he moved to the lead entering the straight again.

Rainbow Dreamer, the 7-4 favourite to win this fast-track qualifier for the second year in succession, closed to produce a strong challenge in the final furlong.

But despite edging successfully through a gap between Mildenberger and Nate The Great to claim a rail position, Tom Marquand and the runner-up could not quite get to the 11-4 winner.

Mildenberger, who was turning round recent Newcastle form with Rainbow Dreamer, has therefore booked his place in the Betway All-Weather Marathon Championship at Lingfield on Good Friday.

Fanning told Sky Sports Racing: “It was a messy race – the pace kept steadying, and every time I went to go and put a bit of pressure on they kept quickening up, and then when I came back they slowed up again.

“If they’d gone a proper gallop, I’d have won (further).”

Mildenberger, second in last year’s Group Three Sagaro Stakes at Newcastle, nonetheless responded with great determination when it mattered.

Fanning, who was riding the six-year-old for only the second time, added: “Every time this guy’s won when I’ve seen him (previously), it’s been a good gallop.

“I was just worried it was slowing up a little bit for him.

“He’s a very good horse on the turf as well, and I thought he had a big shout in that kind of race.”