Vertem Futurity Trophy Preview – Saturday 24th October

Last updated: October 22, 2020 by Leon Marshal

The last Group 1 race of the season takes place at Doncaster on Saturday with the Vertem Futurity Stakes for two-year-olds over a mile. This race was formerly known as the Racing Post Trophy and has a rich history of producing future Classic winners.

Reference Point (1986), High Chaparral (2001), Motivator (2004) and Camelot (2011) are among those to go on and win the Epsom Derby. The last three winners have won the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket; Saxon Warrior (2017), Magna Grecia (2018) and Kameko (2019). Trainer Aidan O’Brien is within one winner of equalling the record ten victories of Sir Henry Cecil in this race.

Horses on track

Wembley Favourite for Futurity Trophy

Aidan O’Brien has dominated this race in recent years and saddles the hot favourite in Wembley. He has been placed in arguably the best two juvenile races run this season. He stayed on to finish runner-up to Thunder Moon in the National Stakes at the Curragh with stable companion St Mark’s Basilica just a short-head away in third. Wembley managed to reverse that form with the winner in the Dewhurst Stakes two weeks’ ago but was beaten by St Mark’s Basilica. He was again staying on strongly at the end of the seven furlongs, and the mile in soft ground looks sure to suit him.

His main market rival is One Ruler, a colt by Dubawi trained by Charlie Appleby. He won a Sandown maiden in August but appeared to have his limitations exposed when third to New Mandate at Doncaster. He bounced back from that defeat to beat Van Gogh in the Group 3 Autumn Stakes at Newmarket over a mile. He won with a bit in hand that day, and the soft ground will hold no fears for him.

Megallan Set to Renew Rivalry With One Ruler

John Gosden suffered a series of setbacks last weekend and will be hoping for better luck with Megallan. He was behind One Ruler in the Autumn Stakes after losing his position with a quarter of a mile to travel. He had finished runner-up in his previous two starts at Kempton and Newbury.

Joseph O’Brien has booked the in-form Tom Marquand to partner State Of Rest. The son of July Cup winner Starspangledbanner is not certain to stay a mile in this ground. He stuck on gamely when third to Chindit here last month but the winner let that form down in the Dewhurst. Roger Varian saddles Baradar who has been supplemented for the race. He was behind Megallan at Newbury but has won comfortably at York since.

King Vega was second to Yibir at Sandown and then chased home Etonian at the same course. Oisin Murphy had to bide his time to get a clear run that day and was never closer than at the finish. Cobh looked very one-paced when winning at Salisbury in August and again when third to New Mandate at Newmarket. Mac Swiney was over eight lengths adrift in the National Stakes and needs to find dramatic improvement to trouble the market leaders.

Betting Tips

Wembley @2-1 Bet365 King Vega @5-1 Each-way 1/5 odds, 1,2,3

The Vertem Futurity Stakes is due off at 2.55 at Doncaster on Saturday 24th October and will be televised live on ITV4.