Abby at Ascot

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The Independent Online
Mark Johnston, who reached 100 winners for the season on Saturday through Mary's Case, may bring out the beaten favourite in the Ayr Gold Cup, Branston Abby, for the Diadem Stakes at Ascot next Sunday.

Branston Abby, who on Saturday was having her fourth race (producing two wins and a second) in 18 days, never appeared likely to supplement gains from an unfavourable middle draw and trailed in 10th to Royale Figurine. "She was never really going and the ground was probably too fast for her," Johnston said.

With seven weeks of turf racing remaining, the Middleham trainer has put the seal on a highly successful campaign by notching his second successive century. "At the beginning of the season I thought it would be impossible to reach the century again because we had so many two-year-olds in relation to older horses," he said.

"Then when we started so badly and we were so far behind, I never thought there was any chance. But we've almost caught up to last year's schedule now when we had 117 winners."

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