The Vertem Futurity Trophy is the final Group 1 of the year in Britain and is held at Doncaster Racecourse in late October.
A race for juveniles over one mile, this is the last of big precursors for the following year’s Classics. Each of the last three winners, Saxon Warrior in 2017, Magna Grecia in 2018 and Kemeko in 2019, have gone on to win the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.
Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes Course Map (Flat Course)
The Vertem Futurity Trophy utilises Doncaster's straight mile, beginning at the end of the track extension to the east of the course. Runners travel from left to right if viewed from the main grandstands.
Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes Past Winners
|2020||Mac Swiney||12/1||Jim Bolger||Kevin Manning|
|2019*||Kameko||11/2||Andrew Balding||Oisin Murphy|
|2018||Magna Grecia||2/1||Aidan O’Brien||Donnacha O'Brien|
|2017||Saxon Warrior||13/8||Aidan O’Brien||Ryan Moore|
|2016||Rivet||11/4||William Haggas||Andrea Atzeni|
|2015||Marcel||33/1||Peter Chapple-Hyam||Andrea Atzeni|
|2014||Elm Park||13/8||Andrew Balding||Andrea Atzeni|
|2013||Kingston Hill||7/2||Roger Varian||Andrea Atzeni|
|2012||Kingsbarns||15/8||Aidan O'Brien||Joseph O'Brien|
|2011||Camelot||10/11||Aidan O'Brien||Joseph O'Brien|
|2010||Casamento||2/1||Michael Halford||Frankie Dettori|
|2009||St Nicholas Abbey||13/8||Aidan O'Brien||Johnny Murtagh|
|2008||Crowded House||7/1||Brian Meehan||Jamie Spencer|
|2007||Ibn Khaldun||11/4||Saeed bin Suroor||Kerrin McEvoy|
|2006||Authorized||25/1||Peter Chapple-Hyam||Frankie Dettori|
|2005||Palace Episode||20/1||Kevin Ryan||Neil Callan|
|2004||Motivator||6/4||Michael Bell||Kieran Fallon|
|2003||American Post||5/6||Criquette Head-Maarek||Christophe Soumillon|
|2002||Brian Boru||11/8||Aidan O'Brien||Kevin Darley|
|2001||High Chaparral||9/2||Aidan O'Brien||Kevin Darley|
*Race took place at Newcastle on an all-weather surface.
About the Vertem Futurity Trophy
For those of you wondering what happened to Doncaster’s Racing Post Trophy, there’s no need to fear. The final Group 1 contest of the flat season remains alive and kicking, merely under a different title: the Vertem Futurity Trophy. The 2017 name change marked the end of a 28 year sponsorship deal with the Racing Post but it’s still very much the same race that has excited Doncaster for decades.
For the two-year-old horses that compete in this one mile race, this is their last moment in the spotlight before the main season draws to a close. Group 1 status and a rich jackpot attracts a high calibre selection of colts, many of which are worth keeping your eye on the following season. Fillies are eligible to compete alongside the boys but incredibly rarely is this the case despite their three pound allowance.
DERBY RECORD A MIXED ONE
Vertem Futurity winners often find themselves featuring in the Epsom Derby, around seventh months after their Doncaster triumph. Since 1980, five winners of this Group 1 race have successfully gone on to secure glory in the English Classic. Although an average of around one double champion every six and a half years is not an overwhelmingly strong trend, it’s certainly one worthy of closer inspection. Recent years paint a mixed picture and also shows that it’s not unusual for Vertem Futruity winners to avoid Epsom’s high-profile contest all together.
MARCEL BREAK FAVOURITE’S FIRM GRIP
Prior to the 2015 renewal of this race, favourites had secured victory for six years running, with the largest priced winner in this time Kingston Hill at 7/2. Having not competed above Class 4 previously, few fancied Marcel to break the favourites’ dominance but the much unfancied horse did just that. Setting off at 33/1, the bay colt sat rock bottom of the betting but finished strongly to hold off Johannes Vermeer in second place. The shock result remains the only recent exception to the rule however with two favourites and one second favourite winning since. Not the most profitable race for the punters but an often easy one to call at least.
CECIL’S FINEST RACE
Sir Henry Cecil was not lacking in major victories during a truly sensational career. Widely regarded as one of the all-time greats, the Scottish born trainer saddled the winner in 25 domestic Classics. While you’ll struggle to find a major event he did not win, there is no Group 1 contest he enjoyed more success in than the Vertem Futurity Stakes.
Known as the Observer Gold Cup when first claiming victory in 1969, the 11-time Champion Trainer won a further nine renewals between 1975 and 1993. As superb as this record is, it’s one placed under real threat by Aidan O’Brien who now stands merely one victory away from hitting double digits.
ATZENI ENJOYS HOT STREAK
Standing joint top as the leading jockeys for this race are none other than Lester Piggott and Pat Eddery who both won on five occasions during their trophy-laden careers. Their position on top is under real threat now however thanks to Andrea Atzeni’s superb run of results in this race. Starting in 2013, the Sardinia-born jockey strung together four consecutive winners in this event, all coming for different trainers. With no other jockey even able to string three wins in a row since its 1961 inception, the Italian’s run, in what is his most successful Group 1 race, will surely stay unmatched.
ANDREA ATZINI’S FUTURITY TROPHY WINNERS
|2016||Rivet||William Haggas||The Starship Partnership|
|2015||Marcel||Peter Chapple-Hyam||Paul Hancock|
|2014||Elm Park||Andrew Balding||Qatar Racing & Kingsclere Racing|
|2013||Kingston Hill||Roger Varian||Paul Smith|
2019 WASHOUT CREATES FIRST UK ALL-WEATHER GROUP 1
Taking place in the British autumn time, it’s not too surprising that this race has occasionally fallen foul of the weather. It hasn’t happened all that often in truth, with Newcastle stepping in in 1989, and Newbury in 2006, but 2019 saw something of a first for one of the biggest juvenile Group 1 events of the season.
It wasn’t the fact that the severe deluge which hit Town Moor in the lead up to the race ultimately led to its abandonment which was unique, but rather the venue which was selected to host the rescheduled edition on the following Friday.
Since its inaugural running back in 1961, the first 58 editions of the contest had been held on turf, but it was the artificial Tapeta surface at Newcastle’s all-weather track which was to provide the platform in 2019. A fairly significant event both for the track and all-weather racing in general, as November 1st 2019 will now go down as the date of the first ever Group 1 race to be held on an artificial surface in the UK.
The race itself was also a fairly memorable affair. The switch in venue certainly did not detract from the quality of the entry, with the Ballydoyle battalion rocking up at Gosforth. In the end though they – and everything else – were repelled in fairly scintillating style by Andrew Balding’s Kameko who scorched clear for an impressive 3¼l success to etch his name into the history books.
2019 Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes Full Result
|1||Kameko (11/2)||Andrew Balding||Oisin Murphy||–|
|2||Innisfree (11/1)||Aidan O’Brien||Seamie Heffernan||3.25 lengths|
|3||Year Of The Tiger (16/1)||Aidan O’Brien||Padraig Beggy||3.5 lengths|
|4||Mogul (7/2)||Aidan O’Brien||Donnacha O’Brien||3.75 lengths|
|5||Kinross (13/8)||Ralph Beckett||Harry Bentley||6.25 lengths|
|6||King Of The Throne (150/1)||Emmet Mullins||Paul Hanagan||11.25 lengths|
|7||Verboten (8/1)||John Gosden||Robert Havlin||11.75 lengths|
|8||New World Tapestry (20/1)||Aidan O’Brien||Emmet McNamara||14 lengths|
|9||Tammani (20/1)||William Haggas||Ben Curtis||14 lengths|
|10||Geometrical (33/1)||Jim Bolger||Kevin Manning||24 lengths|
|11||Blazing Beat (50/1)||Aidan O’Brien||Andrea Atzeni||26.5 lengths|