Mark Johnston took the scenic route towards becoming a record-breaking trainer. The Scotsman - born on Otober 10, 1959 - first qualified as a vet after attending Glasgow University before taking out his training licence in 1987.
He first started training in Lincolnshire before moving to his current base at Middleham in North Yorkshire a year later. Johnston first came to prominence in 1993, when he trained Mister Baileys to Group 2 Vintage Stakes and Royal Lodge Stakes success.
With the same horse, he became a Classic winner with his first Classic runner as Mister Baileys (16/1) and Jason Weaver held off the late challenge of Frankie Dettori on Grand Lodge to win the 2000 Guineas by a short head in 1994. That was also the first Classic winner for the North of England since 1977 and a then record winning time for the race.
The following year, Double Trigger won the first of three Ascot Gold Cups for Johnston and in 1996, the Scot won his first St. James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot with Bijou d’Inde. Johnston also trained Double Trigger’s full brother Double Eclipse and the two siblings fought out a memorable finish to the Goodwood Cup in 1995.
Johnston enjoyed arguably his best year as a trainer to date in 2004, with Attraction winning the English and Irish 1000 Guineas as well as the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket.
In the same year, Johnston won the Vintage Stakes and Dewhurst Stakes with Shamardal, a horse he described as ‘the best I have ever trained’.
The Johnston team have been a mark of consistency down the years, having racked up over a century of winners for the last 24 consecutive Flat seasons. His horses are always very forward and he tends to have a lot of early two-year-old winners, but can also train outstanding stayers, including his current crop that includes Dee Ex Bee and Chester Cup winner Making Miracles.
Johnston also made history in August 2018 when Poet’s Society under Frankie Dettori won at York Racecourse. It was his 4,194th winner - the most of any trainer in British racing history.