Pomfret Stakes Preview: Dark Vision can continue resurgence

Dark Vision impressed in last month's Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot.
Dark Vision impressed in last month's Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot.

Nick Seddon previews an intriguing renewal of the listed Pomfret Stakes at Pontefract on Thursday, which includes some interesting types.

Thursday’s Pomfret Stakes is one of five listed contests allocated to Pontefract races each season, and some smart performers have won this mile-long affair in recent years, including last year's winner Marie’s Diamond - who was third in last month’s Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot

Marie's Diamond hails from the Mark Johnston yard, which has won this race twice since its inception in 2004, and they will be hoping to strike again with another horse with strong form at last month's Royal meeting, the Royal Hunt Cup winner Dark Vision

The four-year-old had rather threatened to bottom out prior to the start of this campaign, bearing in mind that he was enduring a barren run of almost two years without a win since striking in the Group 2 Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood as a two-year-old in 2018 - a performance which persuaded the Godolphin operation to purchase him.

However, he's consistently shown some smart form in competitive affairs since then, and duly bounced back to form with a game success off a competitive-looking mark in last month's Royal Hunt Cup, when looking well-suited to the stiff mile in the process.

He's subsequently had that form overturned by the runner-up Montatham off 3 lb worse terms over this trip at Sandown last time out, but that was still smart form, and he sets a clear standard off level weights now back up into listed company. He looks ready for this rise back up in class, and he's fancied to take this on route to a shot at Group company later in the season - potentially over a mile and a quarter. 

Leading the opposition are a pair of five-year-olds, the Owen Burrows-trained Wadilsafa and last year's Cambridgeshire Handicap runner-up Beringer. The latter hasn't been seen since, but he enjoyed a productive campaign last year, holding his own in a string of competitive affairs. His run at Newmarket was a career-best effort, one which suggested that he's ready for a shot at this level, and bearing in mind that he's run well off an absence in the past, he's one to seriously consider. 

Wadilsafa hasn't got his nose in-front since winning over a mile at this level at Sandown in September 2018, though he has largely been faced with some tough tasks at Group level since, and was found to have a breathing problem on his final start of last term. He shaped well after a breathing operation when third on return in a competitive handicap at Newmarket last time out, and although he's entitled to build on that here, he's rather hit and miss. That being said, he's the main pace angle here, and could prove tough to catch if handed an attacking ride by Jim Crowley.

Another to consider is Escobar, who represents the David O'Meara team. He's a smart handicapper on his day, winning valuable prizes over a mile at York and Ascot last year, and although he's yet to show too much this year, he's had valid excuses, finding things happening too quickly in the Queen Anne Stakes last time. These are much calmer waters, though he'd likely need to be at his absolute best to take this. 

Lastly, the field is completed by Oh This Is Us and Foxtrot Lady. The former is a regular at this kind of level, twice striking in listed contests over seven furlongs at Chester and Haydock earlier in his career, though he's proving more miss than hit these days, including when fifth of six in this last year. He got going a little too late over seven furlongs on his most recent start at Epsom at the beginning of the month, and he'd need more to have serious claims here.

Meanwhile, Foxtrot Lady has been well held in three starts at this level so far this term, including when a six-length third at Windsor last month, and has plenty to prove. With that in mind, it looks worth siding with Dark Vision to keep the ball rolling, and prove that he's ready for the return to Group races.  


Pomfret Stakes, Pontefract, Thursday 23rd July - back Dark Vision at 5/4

Pomfret Stakes
Dark Vision silk

Dark Vision

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