Mark Johnston became the winning most trainer in British racing history when he saddled his 4,194th winner in August 2018, passing the record of 4,193 held by Richard Hannon Senior. Then he broke yet another record on November 18th 2019, when he sent out his 244th winner of the year, beating the record for the most winners in a British season – Flat or Jumps!
Uniquely, he has trained more than 100 British winners for 25 consecutive seasons, achieving success in British and Irish Classics and in numerous Group One races.
Born in Scotland in 1959, he became interested in racing through his father’s ownership of horses. At 14 he knew he was destined to become a trainer, but decided to study first as a vet and after qualifying worked in veterinary practice for three years. He married his childhood sweetheart, Deirdre (now assistant trainer) in 1985 and the following year bought his first training yard, in Lincolnshire. Granted a trainer’s licence in 1987, he sent out his first winner, Hinari Video, that summer.
His first century of winners came in 1994. He has won the 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas, the Ascot Gold Cup three times and the Goodwood Cup five times. His finest horses include Mister Baileys, Shamardal, Attraction, and Double Trigger. He and Deirdre have two sons, Charlie (assistant trainer) and Angus.
He moved to Middleham in 1988, buying the Kingsley House yard to begin an astonishing success story that has now extended to two further yards, creating a major complex. From the extensive gallops set amid the scenic Yorkshire Dales to the resident vets with their hi-tech equipment, Mark Johnston Racing offers some of the finest facilities in Britain for the care and training of racehorses. The yard is the only one in the country to employ two full-time vets, in addition of course to Mark, a vet himself, and all their costs are covered in the daily training fees. Mark is committed to the highest standards of welfare for the horses in his care.
The facilities include three separate grass gallops, plus an all-weather Tapeta gallop; an equine swimming pool; covered, automatic exercisers; five lunging rings; top-quality individual boxes; weighbridges; and starting stalls to practise breaking quickly. There are numerous turn-out paddocks among the 270 acres of land.