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Obituary – Gordon Johnston

(A Gordon For Me with owners Marjorie and Gordon Johnston (at left), trainer Brian Anderton and jockey Paul Richards after his win in the 1994 Great Easter Handicap)

Gordon Johnston, who raced major winners A Gordon For Me and Narousa out of the White Robe Lodge stable, has died at the age of 89.

"He was a great client although we sometimes had differences,'' said trainer Brian Anderton.

A Gordon For Me, co-owned by Gordon's late wife, Marjorie, won 26 races including the group three White Robe Lodge Handicap at Wingatui in 1992 and 93 and the Canterbury Jockey Club Great Easter Handicap in 1994 and 1997(at Motukarara as a 9yr-old). A Gordon For Me raced until he was 11 when he set a track record of 1.08.99 for 1200m at Wingatui.

Narousa won the Dunedin Cup in 2001 and switched to hurdling that season won the NZ Grand National Hurdles five months later when ridden by co-trainer Shane Anderton.

Brian was then keen to give Narousa a spell until the summer and aim him at steeplechases at Melbourne. Gordon disagreed and transferred Narousa to Methven trainer Pam Gerard. Narousa subsequently won the Kumara Gold Nuggets, Waikato and Great Northern Hurdles.

Gordon Johnston bred both horses. A Gordon For Me was by Canadian-bred Le Grand Seigneur from Marjie Jay, a Noble Bijou mare who won a race for the Johnstons at Omoto in 1985 when trained by P J King-Turner. Gordon bred her dam Ranzau Rachael who won a race at Omakau in 1977 for owner-trainer B D Collins.

A Gordon For Me was the second foal of Marjie Jay, who also left Marjie Marjie, winner of the 1997 Inglewood Stakes at Ashburton and South Island Three-Year-old Championship Final from 10 starts when trained by WRL. Marjie Marjie was by Khozam, the sire of Narousa, who was out of the Noble Bijou mare, Alchemy.

"He (Gordon) was a devout pedigree researcher and planned all his mare's matings. He was a big fan of the blue hen mare La Troienne," said Karen Stewart, the WRL stud manager.