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Double delight for Johnston at YorkPosted on Thursday 9th July 2020 @ 16.09

Trainer Mark Johnston enjoyed a memorable double at York after Thunderous capped off a day to remember by landing the Dante Stake.

Rose of Kildare had earlier won the Group Three Tattersalls Musidora Stakes for the Middleham handler but more was to come as Johnston claimed the feature race of the day by securing the Dante.

Highest Ground went off as the well-fancied 8/11 favourite and everything looked to be going to plan in the closing stages.

Oisin Murphy moved his ride through the field, but on the softened ground he started to struggle.

Thunderous, with Franny Norton on board, took full advantage to win by a neck and he is now being considered for the St Leger at Doncaster in September.

While Johnston was at Newmarket for the first day of the July Festival, son and assistant Charlie were in attendance in Yorkshire, and he is expecting big things to come from the three-year-old.

"It's been a very good hour for the yard and Franny just joked that in a normal year we might have the favourite for the Oaks and Derby after winning the Musidora and Dante, so maybe there is a missed opportunity, but we won't be disappointed with these two big prizes.

"Thunderous is a very laidback horse and wouldn't work like a Group 1 or Group 2 horse at home. When it was announced, the Dante would fall on this date we thought it was the perfect slot for him and knew he wouldn't be ready in time for the Derby.

"We went to Newmarket 70-80 per cent fit in the knowledge that race would bring him forward, and I still don't think you've seen the finished article today. There is still a lot more to come, and he's very exciting; he's got a big future."

Article Posted on Thursday 9th July 2020 @ 16.09

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