'Pearls' On World Cup Trail for Mark Johnston

By Jason Ford
English-based trainer Mark Johnston, whose 120 winners this year are more than anybody else, including champion trainer Saeed bin Suroor (115), anticipates a successful journey to Dubai for the 2005 Dubai International Racing Carnival.

Johnston, who won two Carnival events in 2004 with Scott's View, has Pearls of Love pointed for the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) March 26. The trainer plans to send six Carnival horses in total. They are due to fly out on January 8.

The others are the returning pair of Gateman and Carte Sauvage, to be joined by Mystical Girl, Wake and Go Padro.

Pearl of Love, who turns 4 the week before he shipping, is a son of Peintre Celebre. A group I winning juvenile in Italy who only ran twice last season suffered an injury earlier in the year. The winner of half of his eight starts, he was highly tried on both his 2002 outings, in France's Prix Jean Prat (Fr-I) and Royal Ascot's St James's Palace Stakes (Eng-I), but failed to shine on either occasion.

Off the track since June, he is the type to thrive after a break and, with the sun on his back, could be a powerful string to the Johnston bow.

The veteran Gateman, who turns 8 in three weeks, was an excellent second to multiple group I winner Crimson Palace on his UAE bow before running respectably in two group III events. He beat Kalaman in group III company at Newmarket soon after returning to the UK and put up a career best effort on his most recent outing in an Italian group I when beaten just over two lengths.

Mystical Girl, a daughter of Rahy, will be 4 by the time she arrives. The winner of three races, she would look an ideal type for the Cape Verdi and Balanchine Stakes which are both restricted to fillies.

Wake, approaching 5, is a winning son of Storm Cat with form on all weather and dirt surfaces. Trained until recently by Michael Bell, he was under the care of Brian Meehan when he won his maiden and was sold for 11,000gns at the Tattersalls July Sale. He ran twice for Bell.

Carte Sauvage has not won since his juvenile days, when he was also twice Listed placed, and ran once at last year's Carnival, when sixth in the UAE Two Thousand Guineas (UAE-III) when about six lengths behind the winner, Little Jim. A son of Kris S, he clearly had training problems. He was not seen again until the end of October, when he ran three times in three weeks without setting the world alight.

Go Padero, a 3-year-old Night Shift colt, won once as a juvenile and twice this season and looks to be progressing nicely.

Johnston should have no jockey problems as both Stanley Chin and Royston French are already in the UAE.