Mark Johnston is one of Britain’s leading trainers, having become the first Flat trainer to send out more than 200 winners in a season (2009), a feat which he has, to date, repeated in 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019. In 2018 Mark became the winningmost trainer in the UK.
Uniquely, he has trained more than 100 British winners for 27 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.
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 covering 300 acres. His first century of winners came in 1994. He has won the 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas, the Irish 1,000 Guineas, the Irish St Leger, the Ascot Gold Cup (three times) and the Goodwood Cup (five times). His finest horses include Mister Baileys, Shamardal, Attraction, Lumiere, The Last Lion and Double Trigger. He and Deirdre have two sons, Charlie and Angus.