The son of Teofilo had gone up 17lb since he last won at Chester 11 months ago – but that did not stop the 4-1 joint-favourite bounding clear in the straight to come home six lengths ahead of Ulster in the heritage handicap over a mile and three-quarters.
“He’s hit the crossbar a lot of times and has gone up over a stone in the handicap since he last won, but I couldn’t really complain about it,” Johnston told ITV Racing.
“We know he’s a very good horse, not quite as good as his older brother yet, who has win the Grand National twice, but a great horse.
“It’s been a great Easter for us and this has probably been the longest in the planning because his owner lives in Hong Kong and he has got a new granddaughter he has come over to visit.
“He said he was coming for this meeting and he wanted this horse to run and win here, so best-laid plans.”
Double figures earlier in the day, the five-year-old was backed down to the 11-2 favourite and justified that support with a comfortable victory in a hot sprint handicap.
Sent on, Saaheq quickly put the race to bed, scoring by three-quarters of a length from the game Final Venture. Mokaatil stayed on well for third place, another length and three-quarters away with Copper Knight fourth.
“He jumped the gates very well and travelled nicely. I got there a bit early, but there’s only one thing you can do when get left in front and that is to kick for home,” said Doyle.
“When I walked the track beforehand, I thought it definitely wasn’t good ground, but he seemed to handle it fine.
“He’s been consistent all over the winter, he’s going the right way. Physically he’s all there so hopefully he can pick up another few nice pots like this.”