Easy Meydan winner Subjectivist is likely to head straight for the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.
Mark Johnston’s four-year-old backed up his Group One win in France with another profitable overseas success in last weekend’s Dubai Gold Cup – a near all-the-way success under Joe Fanning by almost six lengths.
His rivals can count themselves unlucky, however – because his initial target had been Saudi Arabia.
“He had a fantastic campaign last year – we always thought of him as a genuine St Leger horse, but that was probably his most disappointing effort through the year,” said Johnston’s son Charlie.
“We campaigned him quite aggressively last year – he ran in the Gordon, the Voltigeur, the March and then the Leger, so it was a busy summer.
“There is an element to say he’s best when he’s fresh – but he’s also just a bigger, stronger horse this year. Last year you could struggle to keep condition on him, but this year he’s taken all the work we have thrown at him.
“Plan A was Saudi, and we were annoyed he didn’t get in there – we couldn’t fathom the logic.
“I know Phil Smith framed the staying race as a handicap – and because of weight for age, it worked against him. But there were horses running that had been getting beaten in handicaps and went off 50-1, while he’d won a Group One on his last start.
“As soon as he didn’t get in, as he was half-ready in early February, Meydan was an opportunity for another big pay day – and it was a fantastic performance.”
Looking towards the summer, Subjectivist has two big aims.
Johnston added: “We’ve given him a Yorkshire Cup entry – but one of the main attractions to Dubai was that he had no penalty for his Group One, while he would have in a Sagaro, Henry II or Yorkshire Cup.
“I think Plan A will be to go straight to Ascot, because we’ve proved we can have him in the form of his life fresh. I think the two he’ll definitely go to are Ascot and Goodwood in the summer.
“There’s certainly lots to look forward to. He nearly won at Royal Ascot (King George V Stakes, last year), and Mogul only just caught him at Goodwood – both of those were over a mile-and-a-half. We always said he would get better with age.”