Leading trainer to target Coronation Stakes and King Edward VII Stakes at next week’s Royal meeting
MARK Johnston is putting the finishing touches to his Royal Ascot squad.
The Yorkshire-based trainer is no stranger to success at Flat racing’s biggest festival, and he has all but nailed down big-race plans for two of his smartest performers.
Group 2 winner Threading, who bounced back to her best when an easy winner at York last time, will tackle the Group 1 Coronation Stakes next Friday, 22 June.
Meanwhile, Mildenberger, who chased home Roaring Lion when second in the Dante last month, is likely to run in the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes on the same day.
Threading ran out an impressive winner of the Lowther Stakes as a two-year-old but had suffered back-to-back defeats before scoring at York, and Charlie Johnston, assistant trainer to his father, was relieved to see her back in the winner’s enclosure.
Johnston said: “The Coronation is probably shaping up to be the race of the meeting now the English, Irish and French 1000 Guineas winners could all be going there.
“It’s going to be a very tough race, but we saw in the Lowther last year she is a very high-class filly.
“It is hard to say what level her performance was at York last time, but the manner in which she beat them was of a top-class filly, so I think Ascot is the place to go.”
Dual Listed winner Mildenberger has two options at Royal Ascot, with the colt also entered in the Group 2 Queen’s Vase over a mile and six furlongs at Ascot next Wednesday.
But Johnston said the King Edward VII, which is run over the shorter trip of a mile and four furlongs, was the preferred target.
He said: “We are very happy with him. He is in the King Edward VII and Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot.
“The initial plan before Epsom was that Mildenberger would probably go the King Edward and Dee Ex Bee would go for the Queen’s Vase.
“That was on the assumption that Dee Ex Bee would finish fifth or sixth in the Derby, but he finished second.
“He has run himself out the Queen’s Vase.
“The likelihood is Dee Ex Bee sidesteps Royal Ascot altogether, in which case you could pick either race as Mildenberger’s target.
“I would probably say he is 65-35 going for the King Edward VII over the Queen’s Vase.”