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Johan claims Lincoln on first start for Mick Channon

Johan made a successful debut for the Mick Channon team with an impressive display in the SBK Lincoln at Doncaster.

A six-time winner for William Haggas, the five-year-old switched yards during the off-season and was a 28-1 shot for the traditional Flat season curtain-raiser in the hands of Silvestre de Sousa.

Always to to the fore, Johan quickened up to take over the lead from Saleymm deep inside the final furlong and passed the post with a length and a quarter in hand.

Saleymm was a clear second, with Rogue Bear making late gains to beat Irish Admiral to third.

The previously unbeaten 3-1 favourite Mujtaba, trained by Haggas, was a well beaten 12th, while his well fancied stablemate Ametist finished last of the 22 runners.

De Sousa said: “He travelled brilliant. I tracked the lead horse and put the race to bed when I asked him to go.

“I’m excited, absolutely delighted. I’m a freelance this year, just kicking off. This win is always a big help and I just hope all the trainers can look at that and give me support.

“The owners have been brilliant to me and so has Mick Channon. He has always given me plenty of rides. I’m over the moon.”

Jack Channon, assistant to his father, said: “I thought we had a chance. He’s a very good horse and he’d been working really well. The last two weeks he’s started to flourish. He was having a buck and a squeal and showing his well-being.

“We’ve had him since January so we’ve had a good prep with him. We thought of running in the Listed race but when Chindit was in it, I thought we’ve a chance of winning the Lincoln but probably don’t have a chance of beating Chindit.

“We took a punt. Jon and Julie (Aisbitt, owners) are great supporters and sports people and said ‘let’s have a go at the big one’ and it’s paid off. He’ll probably go up into stakes company now.

“I thought Silvestre would suit this horse down to the ground as he is straightforward and just lengthens and lengthens. It’s a great start to the season for us. We’ve 100 in which is about level for the last 10 years and we’re hoping to increase the quality. Fingers crossed we can do that.”

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