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Orphaned Mohaather an emotional winner for breeder Gaie Johnson Houghton

MOHAATHER (GB) overcame a difficult passage in running to land the Group 1 Sussex Stakes on Wednesday afternoon, continuing the unstoppable run of success for owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum and delivering a first top-flight winner in 14 years for his delighted trainer, Marcus Tregoning.

The result was also an emotional one for breeder Gaie Johnson Houghton, who has nurtured Mohaather’s family for over 30 years at Woodway in Oxfordshire, home to the training establishment run formerly by her husband Fulke and, today, daughter Eve.

Johnson Houghton’s treasured thoroughbred family dates back to foundation broodmare SIRNELTA, who was acquired by Fulke – then the mare’s trainer – when she was sent to the sales by her former owner.

Sirnelta was an instant success at stud, producing Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes winner DEAD CERTAIN (GB) at the first attempt. The success has continued to flow ever since.

Mohaather becomes the second Group 1 winner from the family in the last three years, following the success of ACCIDENTAL AGENT (GB) in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot 2018.

Accidental Agent’s dam, ROODLE (GB), is a half-sister to Mohaather. Their dam, ROODEYE (GB), tragically died shortly after foaling Wednesday’s Sussex Stakes winner. As a result, Mohaather was nurtured by a foster mare in his early days and there will be no further siblings.

MOHAATHER (GB) pictured as a foal.

However, Johnson Houghton currently has five yearling fillies from the family in the field at Woodway, including a daughter of Sheikh Hamdan’s own stallion MUHAARAR (GB) out of Roodle. The filly, who is eligible for the full £20,000 Great British Bonus, will be offered on behalf of Johnson Houghton by Hillwood Stud at Tattersalls October Yearling Sale in the autumn. Johnson Houghton told GBRI:

“She would be the nicest yearling we’ve had for a bit.”

Johnson Houghton is also full of praise for Roodle’s colt foal by SHOWCASING (GB). The Whitsbury Manor Stud resident stallion has already been an outstanding match for the family’s mares thus far: not only is he the sire of Mohaather, but also the Sussex Stakes winner’s full-brother, PRIZE EXHIBIT (GB), who won two Grade 2s and two Grade 3s in America.

“I’m thrilled with him. He looks just marvellous. He appears to have a lovely temperament and is marked very similarly to his older brother, but much stronger and more mature looking.” The colt will be prepared for the yearling sales in 2021.

Speaking of Mohaather’s Sussex Stakes victory in the aftermath of the race, Johnson Houghton commented:

“I feel exhausted and overwhelmed after his win.

 “It has always felt wonderful that I’ve got this amazing family, but it’s even more wonderful now that I’ve bred two Group 1 winners.

 “While it is really devastating that I’ve lost the mare, it makes the win even more special.”