Dark Vision shades Half Light in G2 Oettingen Rennen thriller
Four-year-old Dark Vision, chasing a second G2 success after capturing the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood, UK, as a juvenile in 2018, was slow leaving the stalls and raced in a clear last under Franny Norton for most of the mile contest.
The Mark Johnston-trained colt still had the whole field in front of him entering the final furlong as Half Light (Henri-Alex Pantall/Soufiane Saadi) ran on strongly from mid-field to challenge for the lead down the stands’ rail.
Half Light battled gamely to establish a narrow advantage with half a furlong to race only for the Shamardal filly to be headed in the final stride by Dark Vision, who showed tremendous acceleration between horses to score by a nose.
Mark Johnston said: “We had warned Franny Norton that Dark Vision could be slowly away but I was basically thinking that we couldn’t win from there. Then I reminded myself that I had said exactly the same thing when he was a two-year-old in the Vintage Stakes.
“It was a little bit tighter today than the Vintage Stakes but was just as exciting a race. The gap opened and it was wonderful. It was a great ride from Franny, a typical never-give-up effort, and I am absolutely delighted.
“We have no immediate plans but obviously a G1 victory would be the ultimate target and would repay Sheikh Mohammed for his faith in buying the horse. Dark Vision has had to wait a long time for another G2 victory and winning a G1 would be the ultimate aim, but I haven’t really thought of a plan towards it.”
Franny Norton said: “I expected to win before we came over but I didn’t down the back because Dark Vision ran into the race very lazily. William Buick said to me that I would feel at halfway whether he would win or not and I know exactly what he meant because I felt really good at halfway. Once we went up the straight, this lad picked up well and finished them off like he always does.”