Saturday 27th October 2018
As one season begins another draws to a close as we are very much in the final furlong of the flat season and that of course means we reach what was once the ‘Racing Post Trophy’ and is now known as the ‘Vertem Futurity Trophy’ at Doncaster. One of my favourite meetings to attend as we get an insight into the potential of the stars of tomorrow. Last year’s contest was a fine example of that with the dual between Saxon Warrior and Roaring Lion what went on to be the catalyst for a rivalry that will live long in the memory. Hope you enjoy my preview on this year’s renewal!
(4.05) (Class 1) (Group 1) (1m)
The final Group 1 of the UK flat season takes place at 4.05 on Saturday afternoon at Doncaster and it’s an affair that’s contested over a mile. Last year’s race was won by the impressive Saxon Warrior for Aidan O’Brien and it’s the Ballydoyle master that trains the market leader once again and that comes in the form of Magna Grecia (6/4). He got his career off to the perfect start with a comfortable success at Naas before running a smart sort close in Group 3 company last time at Newmarket. Aidan generally targets this race with potentially smart sorts as he’s won it on as many as eight occasions and a lot of those came with horses who went on to reach lofty heights. I think the horse could well be another really nice one for the all conquering connections and I suspect a bold showing is very much likely. Donnacha takes the ride. Next up in the market is a horse also representing powerhouse connections and that’s Turgenev (4/1) for John Gosden and Frankie Dettori. I was here to see him make his debut last month where he finished second behind the smart Royal Marine and he’s since gone on to win comfortably in two novice events. His limitations have yet to be seen and whilst this represents an obviously much tougher test he could well be up for the task. Phoenix Of Spain (5/1) comes here with very solid form to his name for Charlie Hills, he was last seen when finishing second to Too Darn Hot here in the Champagne Stakes after winning the Acomb at York. He’s one not to be dismissed and is once again reunited with Jamie Spencer.
Aidan O’Brien is also represented by Circus Maximus (14/1) and Western Australia (33/1). The former won a maiden on soft going so any cut in the ground won’t be an issue to him and followed up when finishing third in the same Group 3 contest as Magna Grecia last time. He’ll need to take another sizeable step up here should he come close to reversing that form. John Gosden’s other representative here comes in the form of Kick On (18/1) in the Qatar Racing silks. Connections went close in this last year with the outstanding Roaring Lion and this contender could well be a fairly smart himself. He won nicely last time at Newmarket but will need to improve again here should he mount a challenge alongside those with stronger form. Raakib Alhawa (16/1) for David Simcock is perhaps the most interesting contender in the race here for me, he comes into the race off the back of just a maiden victory but he did it in very taking style. He could well be anything and he has the services of Andrea Atzeni here who has a fine record at this track and in this particular race. Tom Dascombe sends the in form Great Scot (18/1) to take his chance here and this is a horse who I witnessed make his debut when winning at Chester and he’s since improved impressively. This culminated with a heavy ground success at Haydock last time out and he could well have more to offer. Richard Kingscote takes the ride. King Ottokar (22/1) cost a fair old sum and won on debut at Newbury last month. He’s potentially a nice sort but will need to be if he’s to get involved in this. Dashing Willoughby (25/1) and Kuwait Currency (33/1) conclude the field.
🥇1ST: MAGNA GRECIA (6/4)
🥈2ND: TURGENEV (4/1)
🥉3RD: KICK ON (18/1)
KICK ON (18/1)
(The big three in the betting look very solid here however if one of them does happen to slip up then I could see Kick On potentially grabbing a place at a big price, I was impressed with his win last time and connections came very close in this last year. I think he’s got a nice future ahead of him and hope he can put in a decent showing in this.)