Leading British trainer Mark Johnston has surprisingly never won the St Leger at Doncaster in his career but has two big chances this year and is hoping 2019 is his chance to shine at Doncaster.
Johnston has trained more winners in Britain than any other trainer in the history of the sport but has never managed to get his hands on the final Classic race of the season but has had a few of his horses place in the past.
The Scotsman is well known for upping his horses in trip when they are not running to a great standard and he is one of the best trainers for getting the most out of his horses.
This is why it is very strange not to see his name amongst the winning trainers in this Group One contest but he is hoping that his two horses entered in the race in Sir Ron Priestley and Nayef Road have enough in the tank to get the job done this year.
Nayef Road is Johnston's second string in the race after never running his race last time out in the Group Two Great Voltigeur at the Ebor meeting but before that landed the Group Three Gordon Stakes at Goodwood and getting back to that form could see him enter calculations.
The Paul Dean owned Sir Ron Priestley made it five wins from six starts this year when landing the Group Three Ladbrokes March Stakes at Goodwood last time out.
Franny Norton seems to be the key to this horse always being able to stick his neck out and get the job done and with the 49 year old rider still without a Group One win to his name, this could be his best chance for a while.
(Credit At The Races) Johnston said: “Sir Ron Priestley is going to have to up his game considerably – but he’s done everything else we’ve asked of him, and so he’s got to have a shot at the St Leger.
“We are under no illusions about the fact he will need a personal best to win.“He won a Group Three race on his last outing, while this is a Group One with Classic horses in there and a much taller order. But he stays the trip well, and it’s not impossible he could bridge the gap."
He added: “The St Leger is a race I would dearly love to win – and it would be fantastic for Paul and Franny, who’s as good as ever, to get a big one.
“Paul’s a tremendous owner and has been with us almost as long as I’ve been training. I always say bookmakers make great owners, because they’ve made their living out of the fact that we don’t know what is going to win.”