Connections Dark Vision hope to discover which route to take next after the Group Two winner has contested the Matchbook Low Commission Exchange Heron Stakes at Sandown.
The Mark Johnston-trained colt looked an exciting prospect when victorious in last year’s Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood – but he then disappointed in the Champagne behind Too Darn Hot and was out until April when he was beaten on his comeback run at Chelmsford.
He took his chance in the 2000 Guineas but not was involved at the business end as Magna Grecia landed the colts’ Classic.
Dark Vision drops down to Listed company on Thursday but is opposed by promising types such as the John Gosden-trained duo of King Of Comedy and Lord North and Sir Michael Stoute’s Sangarius – who was fourth to Too Darn Hot in the Dewhurst Stakes after winning a Listed race at Doncaster.
“Dark Vision ran respectably in the Guineas to finish mid div,” said Charlie Johnston, assistant to his father.
“This is a step down in class – although I think time will tell it’s a Listed race only in name.
“There are some well-regarded, unexposed colts in there. It’s a hot race – but there’s not a huge amount of options for him between now and Ascot basically.
“This will tell us whether something like the St James’s Palace is still realistic or do we need to be going up in trip and down in grade and looking at something like the Hampton Court.”
Andrew Balding is delighted to finally get Bell Rock back on the course, after he made a successful debut at Newmarket in October.
“We are really looking forward to this horse coming back,” said the Kingsclere trainer.
“He is a horse that I think is still very smart. He did have a setback and had to miss a chunk of work.
“We have to start him off somewhere, and this will give us an idea of where we can go with him in the future. His work has been to a good level, and the mile should be no problem for him.”
Jm Jackson is an interesting candidate for the Johnston stable in the Matchbook Betting Podcast National Stakes.
The daughter of No Nay Never was sent off 7-4 favourite on her racecourse bow at Thirsk, but had to settle for second place behind Ventura Rebel.
The form of that race was boosted when the winner then nailed the speedy American filly Lady Pauline at Ascot.
“She’s always been a filly we’ve held in high regard, and at the time we left Thirsk quite disappointed she hadn’t made a winning debut,” said Johnston.
“But obviously the subsequent form of the winner means there are plenty of positives to take out of that.
“The draw (seven) is not ideal on the straight course at Sandown.
“You’d always rather be nearer the rail than further away from it, and she’s out on the wing of the field against horses that have got more experience than her – but it’s a six-runner race, and for her to finish in the first three would do wonders for her value.
“We’re hopeful she’s got the ability to do that.”
Bryan Smart is happy to give Proper Beau a chance at Listed level, after the Brazen Beau colt made a winning debut at Musselburgh.
The North Yorkshire trainer said: “He’s a nice horse. He won well last time on his only run so far, and he’ll know more about his job.
“David O’Meara’s horse (Full Authority) and Mark Johnston’s filly (Jm Jackson) are said to be very good, so our horse is there to be shot at – but he’s in good order.”