The giant two-year-old colt Dark Vision, hugely impressive when landing the Group 2 Qatar Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood last week, has been sold in a private deal to the all-powerful Godolphin team run by Sheikh Mohammed of Dubai.
The sheikh has a longstanding connection to Johnston’s Middleham yard, and his son, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum, has an enormous number of horses in training with the Scottish-born handler. Dark Vision will remain in training with Johnston whose team enjoyed an outstanding week at Goodwood where the highlight was the last to first surge to victory of the Dream Ahead colt who cost original owners Kingsley Park 10 just 15,000 guineas as a yearling. He is now unbeaten in three races and could be worth something close to seven figures.
From last to first…
— Goodwood Racecourse (@Goodwood_Races) August 7, 2018
“Dark Vision has been sold to Godolphin and will be staying with us,” Johnston told the Racing Post on Friday. “He was vetted yesterday and we are currently waiting on some blood tests which should be known on Monday, but this is just routine.
“We’ll have a sit down and chat with the new owners about where the horse will run next. Possible targets include the Group 1 National Stakes at the Curragh, and the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket, which is sponsored by Darley.”
Dark Vision was sent off 10/3 favourite at Goodwood on the back of impressive novice stakes wins at Yarmouth and York, and after being hampered early on in the Vintage Stakes and again when trying to improve his position two furlongs from home, he looked to be fighting a losing battle. But champion jockey Silvestre de Sousa managed to find a route to the outside of the pack and his mount simply took off at the furlong pole, storming away to beat the likeable Dunkerron by nearly two lengths, with the well regarded Confiding a further length-and-a-quarter back in third.
He is now a top priced 16/1 with Paddy Power for next year’s Qipco 2000 Guineas and looks an exciting prospect. John Gosden’s very impressive Group 2 Coventry Stakes winner Calyx, who has met with a setback and won’t race again this season, remains the ante-post favourite for the first Classic of next season at 8/1 with 888sport.
Written by Paul Alster
Paul Alster has been part of the British and international racing media for more than three decades working as a race commentator, TV/radio presenter, journalist, betting correspondent, SP returner, and form analyst. He’s always sought out overpriced runners in handicap races, a quest that excites him as much now as it did at the start of his career.