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Dark Vision shines brightly in Royal Hunt Cup


Dark Vision rekindled some exciting juvenile form with a swooping victory in one of Royal Ascot’s most competitive heritage handicaps, the mile Royal Hunt Cup, on Wednesday, 17 June.

The Mark Johnston-trained four-year-old, successful in the G2 Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood in 2018, tacked across to settle towards the rear of the stands’ side runners as the field split into two groups across the track.

Dark Vision travelled into contention for William Buick entering the final quarter-mile and accelerated between horses, hitting the front with half a furlong to race before going away to score by a length and a quarter.

Mark Johnston said: “If you remember Dark Vision winning as a two-year-old at Goodwood, he made that look pretty easy as well, but he has been nothing but a frustration since he changed hands, so I feel great for Sheikh Mohammed, who bought the horse as a two-year-old and who has had nothing but disappointment since until today. It is a drop in class to handicap company, but the best of handicaps, and he has done it so well.

“William Buick said he just left the horse alone, he needed a bit of luck in running because he was a bit short of room to get through, but he has been working brilliantly at home, so we were not surprised by it – it’s just been a frustration waiting for it to come.

“Remember, he is a G2 winner already. He has come down enough in the weights to get into handicaps; whether he goes back up to Group races, we will leave for the handicappers to decide for us.”

William Buick said: “Dark Vision was bought by connections to be a good horse and now he has rewarded them with a Royal Ascot win.

“He travelled through the race beautifully today. I was always happy with where I was throughout the race today. I was tracking the right horses and it was just all about getting the split at the right time. When he got that split, he quickened up very well. It was a strongly run race and everything fell in place for him today.

“We got a glimpse from Dark Vision as to what we saw from him as a two-year-old. He ran very well at Newcastle and off that run, you could see he was getting back to his best. Today we saw the true horse that he is.”