Dark Vision could head to Joel Stakes before potential QEII outing

Four-year-old has returned to his best this season.

  • Sunday 20 September
  • News

Dark Vision could take in the Shadwell Joel Stakes at Newmarket on Friday en route to a return to Group One company in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot.

The Group Two mile prize is under consideration for the Mark Johnston-trained Dream Ahead colt ahead of a potential outing on Qipco British Champions Day, for what would be a first start at the top level since last year’s 2000 Guineas.

Having claimed the Royal Hunt Cup on his second start this season and a Listed contest at Pontefract three runs ago, Dark Vision continued his recent revival with victory in a Group Two at Baden-Baden in Germany.

Assistant trainer Charlie Johnston said: “He is in the Joel Stakes at Newmarket so we will have a look at that. If he doesn’t run there we might wait until the QEII, but we are not ruling out doing both.

“He likes the course and distance (at Ascot) and if we are going to roll the dice at that level that’s where it will be at.

“If Palace Pier and the whole shooting match turn up it will be a pretty scary place to go, but at the same time if there is a big field around him I could see him picking up the pieces and running well.”

Although Dark Vision failed to hit the heights he promised as a juvenile during a disappointing three-year-old season, Johnston believes his performances this term demonstrate he has turned a corner.

He said: “You could call this season a revival. He was rated 113 at two and he dropped down to 97 following a lacklustre three-year-old campaign.

“Off the back of Germany the handicapper has put him up to 113 and he has gone right back to the heights he scaled as a two-year-old.

“I’m not quite sure this is what Sheikh Mohammed had hoped for after his two-year-old season, but to win at Royal Ascot and in a Group Two is a good season in most books, which I’m sure he would agree with.

Stablemate Communique is in line for a return to Germany in the Group One Preis von Bayern at Munich on November 8 – provided conditions are suitable, having found only Barney Roy too good in the Grosser Preis von Baden earlier this month.

Johnston said: “He is a funny old horse. Just as you think he might be a bit out of form after his Goodwood an Newbury runs, he then runs well at Windsor and in a German Group One showing their is life in the old boy still.

“He has finished second in two Group Ones in Germany and is a bit below that level in England.

“There is the Preis von Bayern still to come. It is late in the year and the ground could be bad, but it is not impossible that he could go there.”

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