Free racing tips: Nick Robson previews Thursday's action with Nap and next best selections

Dark Vision wins the Royal Hunt Cup

Dark Vision looks well worth a step back up in class after three good runs so far this season en route to Pontefract, according to Nick Robson.


Dark Vision looks well worth a step back up in class after three good runs this season en route to the Sky Bet Pomfret Stakes at Pontefract.

A classy juvenile for Mark Johnston, winning the Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood in breathtaking fashion when coming from last to first, Dark Vision was running in Godolphin blue on his next start after Sheikh Mohammed dipped into his pocket to ensure that was the case.

Unfortunately for his new connections, he flopped behind Too Darn Hot in the Champagne Stakes - and despite a very busy three-year-old campaign, which began in April, he looked to have completely lost his way bar the occasional encouraging performance.

Whatever Johnston did over the winter worked, though, because Dark Vision reappeared on the second day of racing's resumption at Newcastle with a fine effort, finishing second to Sir Busker.

That form has worked out exceptionally well, with the winner scoring again at Royal Ascot and going close in the Bunbury Cup from a mark 10lb higher than Newcastle.

Of course, Dark Vision finally returned to winning ways at Ascot himself, landing the Hunt Cup by a length and a quarter - a big margin in a race of that nature - from Montatham.

Up 6lb, he met Montatham again at Sandown - and this time on 3lb better terms, his rival turned the tables, but only by a short head.

Dark Vision has put up three massive efforts in a row now, and the stiff Pontefract finish will suit him well in this Listed contest.

Sir Michael Stoute has a very healthy strike-rate at the West Yorkshire track, pushing 30 per cent, and Heaven Forfend can add to the tally in the tiesplanet.com Maiden Stakes.

It has to be said that Cheveley Park Stud probably did not imagine sending this colt by Heaven Sent out of Frankel up to Pontefract to break his duck at the fifth attempt - but he is not devoid of ability.

In fact when second on his debut at Newbury the future looked bright, and he was not totally disgraced behind Pinatubo in the Chesham.

Heaven Forfend then missed the bulk of last summer before finishing fourth at Sandown in September, and he probably bumped into a useful prospect on his return at Windsor when second to Owen Burrows' Taawfan - to whom he was conceding 5lb.

He will be sharper for that, and sets quite a high standard here.

In the same Newbury race as Heaven Forfend was Ed Walker's Monash - and without knocking your eye out, he shaped quite well in sixth.

That was over a mile, and the son of Lawman steps up two furlongs for the Pontefract And District Golf Club Ltd Median Auction Maiden Stakes. He is certainly one of the more interesting runners.

John Gosden sent Third Kingdom to Newcastle for one of the early meetings, probably in the hope he might be an Ascot juvenile.

He perhaps got his answer on leaving the stalls, however, because Third Kingdom was very slowly away before running on nicely into third behind Thunder Of Niagara.

Given time since then, better can be expected in the Martin Densham Memorial EBF Maiden Stakes at Sandown.

Plenty of Frankel's offspring stay exceptionally well for a horse who never ran over further than 10 furlongs.

That is the case with Gosden's Indigo Lake, and going up in trip again to a mile and six furlongs should aid his cause in the Young Stayers Handicap.

It was pleasing to see Timoshenko show so much pace on his hurdling debut, having looked an out-and-out stayer on the Flat for Sir Mark Prescott.

Now with Jamie Snowden, he quickened up nicely to win going away, and Snowden has said he sees no reason to step him up in trip while he can still win over the minimum.

The Sky Racing Final Furlong Podcast Novices' Hurdle at Uttoxeter may be a little tougher with a penalty, but Snowden excels with hurdlers rattling up a sequence.

Nick Robson's tips

LEOPARDSTOWN: 1.00 Talacre, 1.30 Fernando Vichi, 2.00 Legal Thriller, 2.30 Woods, 3.00 Out On Friday, 3.30 Iberia, 4.00 Hannon, 4.30 Cartesienne.

LIMERICK: 4.45 Gondor, 5.15 Say It Ain't So, 5.45 Moonlight Eclipse, 6.15 The Tartan Spartan, 6.45 Full Of Zandre, 7.15 Gunfire Reef, 7.45 Miss McIlroy, 8.15 Coeur Aimant.

PONTEFRACT: 1.50 Regional, 2.20 Only Alone, 2.50 Saluti, 3.20 DARK VISION (NAP), 3.50 Heaven Forfend, 4.25 Monash, 5.00 King's Castle, 5.35 Purdey's Gift.

SANDOWN: 4.20 Crime Of Passion, 4.55 Third Kingdom, 5.25 American Entente, 5.55 Global Esteem, 6.30 Full Intention, 7.00 Indigo Lake, 7.30 Songkran, 8.00 Wand.

UTTOXETER: 12.35 Timoshenko, 1.10 Quivvy Lough, 1.40 Lemon Shoulder, 2.10 Young Wolf, 2.40 Get Back Get Back, 3.10 Mercian Prince, 3.40 Mega Double, 4.10 The Happy Chappy, 4.40 Mini Crest.

DOUBLE: Dark Vision and Heaven Forfend

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