The Vertem Futurity Trophy, previously known as the Racing Post Trophy, is the final Group 1 race of the season. It is open to two-year-old colts and fillies, and is run at Doncaster over a distance of 1 mile.
It is usually an excellent guide and trial to the following year’s Classics, in particular the 2,000 Guineas and Epsom Derby – backed up in recent years with High Chaparral, Motivator, Authorized and, most-recently, Camelot all winning this race before going onto take the Epsom Derby the following season. Last year’s winner – Saxon Warrior went onto land the 2,000 Guineas this season. The second - Roaring Lion, has also gone on to win four group ones including the Juddmonte International.
Jockey Andrea Atzeni has certainly enjoyed this race in recent years – winning it four times in the last five years. Aidan O’Brien has won the race eight times as a trainer, and is only two adrift of the record set by Sir Henry Cecil. Favourites usually boast a good record, with eight of the last eleven winners being sent off the market principle. Fourteen of the last sixteen winners had won at least one race prior to this, and thirteen of those had that win less than a month before this race.
This year, Ireland and Aiden O’Brien are represented by several entrants; eight to be exact for the master of Ballydoyle - most notably Magna Grecia and Japan. Charlie Hills has put in Phoenix Of Spain, who was second to Dewhurst winner Too Darn Hot in the Champagne Stakes here some time ago.
Two trainers are double-handed - John Gosden with Kick On and Turgenev – who has looked mightily impressive so far and will be in the running to go off favourite, and Andrew Balding through Dashing Willoughby and Fox Tal. Completing the list are Tom Dascombe's Great Scot, Karl Burke's Kadar, Charlie Fellowes' King Ottokar, Richard Hannon's Kuwait Currency, and David Simcock's Raakib Alhawa.