Mark Johnston double helps PJ McDonald to hat-trick at Newmarket

Sat 6 Jun 2020

Mark Johnston and PJ McDonald combined to excellent effect at Newmarket, as the trainer provided the rider with two legs of a treble.

McDonald had earlier been on the mark with James Tate’s Far Above in the Palace House Stakes, but the in-form Johnston team first hit the mark as Blown By Wind claimed the Betfair Racing Only Bettor Podcast Handicap.

The 6-1 shot repelled the late thrust of Pogo and Qaysar, who ran a remarkable race to be beaten half a length and a neck after being detached at the back of the field at one point.

McDonald said: “I haven’t ridden him on a racecourse before, but I’d ridden him quite a bit leading up to the resumption of racing and I knew he was straight.

“The horses are in great form, they’re going straight back to old form and back to winning ways so I was confident when I hoofed him early, but not so confident 100 yards from the line.

“If I had got beat, I’d have been kicking myself for going but when they’re on your side, they prick their ears and battle away so it was all good on the day.”

The Trader (6-1) then completed the Johnston double and McDonald hat-trick in the Trade On The Betfair Exchange Handicap, holding Rock Eagle by a cosy two and three-quarter lengths.

Makanah gave Julie Camacho a rare Newmarket winner when getting up almost on the line in the Win Bigger On The Betfair Exchange Handicap.

It was the second season in succession the five-year-old son of Mayson had made a winning return to action, having triumphed on his reappearance at Thirsk 12 months ago.

Coming from off a ferocious pace the 9-2 winner wore down Copper Knight, who had been front rank throughout, on the climb to the line before scoring by a short head.

Winning jockey Paul Mulrennan said: “I had a really good run all the way through. He has been working nicely at home and deserved to win a big one like that.

He is a horse on the upgrade. He has got some nice bits of form last year and hopefully he will keep progressing.

“We had such a strong pace to aim at and the wind was behind us as well.”

Montatham (5-2 favourite) impressed with his three-length win for William Haggas and Jim Crowley in the Best Odds On The Betfair Exchange Handicap, while Smokey Bear (4-1) was a stylish victor in the Ryan Moore Columns On Betting.Betfair Handicap for Jason Watson.

Watson said: “I wouldn’t be scared of stepping him back, he’s got plenty of boot but I think six furlongs is his best trip.”

The Qipco 2000 Guineas was the headline event on the card, which was being run behind closed doors, and Watson added: “It’s bizarre, but I think we’re all just happy to be back racing.”

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