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Tuesday, 23 October, 2018

Mark Johnston's vision for a bargain showcased in Vintage Stakes

The impressive winner cost the trainer just 15,000gns

Mark Johnston in the spotlight after Dark Vision's victory
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Trainer Mark Johnston's renowned eye for a bargain was advertised to good effect again on Tuesday when Dark Vision – a colt he bought for just 15,000gns at Book 2 of last year's Tattersalls October Yearling Sale – stormed to victory in the Group 2 Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.

Dark Vision, who came into the race unbeaten in two starts, was brought wide and late by jockey Silvestre de Sousa to defeat the Alan King-trained Dunkerron, a son of neglected first-season sire Kuroshio, by one and three quarters of a length. Confiding, a Martyn Meade-trained son of Iffraaj, finished third.

Dark Vision is far from the first two-year-old bought inexpensively by Johnston to shine this year.

Victory Command, a son of War Command who took the Listed Pat Eddery Stakes at Ascot on Saturday, was bought by Johnston for a scarcely believable 6,000gns at the Tattersalls December Yearling Sale. Like Dark Vision, he carries the trainer's silks and races under the banner of Kingsley Park 10.

Albany Stakes heroine Main Edition was a touch more expensive, signed for by Johnston for 62,000gns – although that price was well below the 293,095gns average at Book 1 of the 2017 Tattersalls October Yearling Sale, where she was sourced.

Dark Vision: a sixth Group winner for his sire Dream Ahead

Furthermore, Natalie's Joy, an easy winner of the Listed Rose Bowl Stakes this month, was a 35,000gns Book 2 purchase by Johnston, while No Lippy, who scored in the Lily Agnes Conditions Stakes, was a €44,000 acquisition by the handler at the Goffs Orby Yearling Sale.

Neither did Johnston's three previous winners of the Vintage Stakes carry flashy price-tags.

Mister Baileys was knocked down to him for 10,500gns, while Gainsborough Stud Management bought Shamardal and Lucky Story for 50,000gns and $95,000 respectively.

His latest rags to riches success story Dark Vision becomes the sixth Group winner for Dream Ahead, a son of Diktat who was joint-champion two-year-old with Frankel and subsequently a three-time Group 1-winning sprinter at three.

The previous best runners by the sire, who stood at Haras de Grandcamp at €12,000 this year, are Prix Jacques le Marois hero Al Wukair and Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte winner Donjuan Triumphant.

Dark Vision was bred by SF Bloodstock out of Black Dahlia, a daughter of Dansili who won five races over 7f to 1m2f at three and four and was second in the Listed Ladybird Stakes over a mile at Kempton at five.

Black Dahlia was a bargain herself, bought as a yearling in Doncaster by Alan McCabe for just 5,000gns. She was later sold to SF Bloodstock for 40,000gns at Tattersalls at the end of her five-year-old season.

The mare, who is out of the Listed-winning Rock City mare South Rock, produced the Listed-placed Lope De Vega mare Al Hayyah as her first foal and has also been represented by the smart winner Another Eclipse.

Another colt by Lope De Vega is available to buy from the Ecurie des Monceaux draft at the coming Arqana August Yearling Sale.

Dark Vision – a second Vintage Stakes winner in a row out of a Dansili mare, after Expert Eye in 2017 – was originally knocked down to Limefield Stud for €15,000 at the Goffs November Foal Sale.


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Johnston's three previous winners of the Vintage Stakes did not carry flashy price-tags either
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