MARK JOHNSTON’S stable staff will be willing him on to win the All-Weather trainer’s championship - they could bag a £10,000 bonus if he does.

The Middleham handler, who is 20 clear of his nearest rival in the standings on 66 winners, will claim the cash for being the top trainer if he is in the lead by the end of racing on Good Friday - a day that sees the inaugural £1 million All-Weather Championship Finals at Lingfield.

But he said: “I will probably give the £10,000 to our staff. I am not ungrateful, but I do have reservations about the principle of trainers being rewarded for running horses that are not theirs. It is very evident that big prize money races attract me.”

Johnston is torn between attending racing at Lingfield and being at the Middleham Stables Open Day on April 18 - conceding he will now probably go to both. He plans to have as many runners as possible at the track.

“Good Friday is a difficult one - part of me says it is no different from any other day,” he explained. “Part of me says we do have a huge crowd of people that come to Middleham for the Open Day and it will be a shame if racing on Good Friday interferes with that.

“It does not look like the Open Day will suffer. The Middleham Open Day is going ahead as normal and I would be surprised if the fact there is racing has much of an impact on numbers.

“It just puts added pressure on the stable staff and us to try and do two jobs on the same day. Personally, I have a bit of a dilemma. Do I stay in Middleham or should I go racing? I am now thinking I will do both.”