A host of highly-rated two-year-olds have been entered for the final Group 1 of the flat season, the one-mile Vertem Futurity Stakes at Doncaster on Saturday 23 October. Five winners of this prestigious race have gone on to Epsom Derby success.
The ante-post favourite is Aiden O’Brien’s Luxembourg, unbeaten in two runs over a mile on good ground. In the latest, a Group 2 at The Curragh, he was “supremely impressive” according to the Racing Post. He is also the early market leader for the 2022 Derby.
Angel Bleu has four wins and a second to his name from six starts. He has proved himself over seven furlongs and on soft and heavy going, landing the Group 1 Grand Criterium at Longchamp for Ralph Beckett last weekend. In doing so he gave the impression the mile of the Futurity would be no problem.
Noble Truth was only three quarters of a length behind Angel Bleu at Longchamp and if he raced a little less keenly next time, or had the benefit of better going, connections would be hopeful of turning the tables.
After strolling to a five-length victory at Epsom the underestimated Mark Johnston colt Royal Patronage made all the running to win the Acomb at York at odds of 25/1. A much shorter price in the Royal Lodge, he battled back gamely when headed to regain the lead in the last few strides, proving his stamina over a mile.
Coroebus was just run out of it in the Royal Lodge, but it was a fine effort on only his second start. Charlie Appleby’s charge is odds on to win a Group 3 at Newmarket on Saturday and if he comes out of that well he will take on the Futurity.
Second-season trainer James Ferguson has some good two-year-olds and El Bodegon is already close to the top of the pecking order based on his win in a soft-ground Group 3 at Chantilly over nine furlongs last month.
Three more notable Futurity entries run in this Saturday’s Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket.
Godolphin’s Native Trail made it 3-3 in The Curragh’s Group 1 National Stakes last month, finishing strongly at the end of the seven furlongs. That prompted bookmakers to install the Charlie Appleby colt as favourite for the 2,000 Guineas.
Roger Varian’s Bayside Boy won the Group 2 Champagne Stakes at Doncaster’s St Leger meeting. He is entitled to improve further and his pedigree indicates that he should stay the Futurity trip.
Dubawi Legend spreadeagled his rivals on his debut at Doncaster only to disappoint at York’s Ebor meeting, finishing third. He scoped badly after the race and his trainer Hugo Palmer is confident, he is better than that.
If any of them reappear a fortnight later at Doncaster that would enhance an already fascinating contest. The Vertem Futurity invariably produces leading contenders for the following year’s classics and this month’s race has all the hallmarks of being a vintage renewal.