Sky Sports Racing Race of the Day: Aidan O’Brien eyes 11th Vertem Futurity triumph at Doncaster | Race News

Sky Sports Racing presenter Mike Cattermole is back with his news on Saturday’s big race, the Group One Vertem Futurity Stakes at Doncaster.

The Vertem Futurity Trophy (3:35) is the last Group One of the British Flat season and in recent years has become an advantage for Aidan O’Brien.

He has won it three times in the last five races and 10 in all to equal the late Sir Henry Cecil. Auguste Rodin arrives with a great reputation for setting a new record, although his stable mate Salt Lake City is not to be dismissed lightly either.

Tactically, Salt Lake City is a contender for top tier duties, as are Stormbuster and Dancing Magic with Captain Wierzba close at hand.


Like many places it has been wet in South Yorkshire this week and the ground is soft, heavy in places after 23mm of rain on Thursday and more showers on Friday morning.

There are chances of more showers during the race on Friday, but Saturday should be dry.

Auguste Rodin is the ante-post favorite for the Epsom Derby next year


Auguste Rodin

The son of Deep Impact and Rhododendron arrives here with a heap of steady confidence after a convincing victory in the Group 2 Juvenile Champion Stakes over a mile on soft ground at Leopardstown, when he found plenty in the closing stages and hit hard line.

It was certainly a step in the right direction, having won his maiden at Naas over seven furlongs. The only downside to the victory at Leopardstown, perhaps, is that the closest pursuer that day, filly Caroline Street, disappointed in her next start against her own gender in the Weld Park Stakes two weeks later. .

Being talked about by his trainer as the type to have both the speed of a Guineas and the stamina of a Derby. A worthy, albeit discounted, favorite and one to beat.

Captain Wierzba

Was competing in a Group 3 on very soft ground at Saint-Cloud when his jockey Rossa Ryan was notoriously chased away by Christophe Soumillon at the start of the competition.

So, we don’t know how much he could have improved since his (good) first Ffos Las victory on 7f. The shape of this race is just ordinary, though, and it needs to find a ton of improvements to deliver a hit here. Can run well in good place.

dancing magic

A talented youngster who has shown improvement in her four starts to date and attempted to race when she was fourth behind Silver Knott, Epictetus and Holloway Boy in the Group 3 Fall Stakes over a mile at Newmarket .

He obviously has to find something on that softer surface – the first time he tackles it – to reverse that shape but should win races.

Epictetus and Martin Harley win at Newmarket July Festival
Epictetus and Martin Harley win at Newmarket July Festival


Won his first place at Newmarket in July (good to firm) and then was out for three months until he fell a neck to the more experienced Silver Knott (gave away 3lbs) in Group 3 Autumn Stakes at Newmarket during this trip on good ground.

He’s already a smart form and we should expect him to build on that and confirm the rankings with Holloway Boy and Dancing Magic. It will be his first time racing in soft, but his father and mother did well, as did his older half-sister, Jumbly.

Interestingly, Gosden’s name has yet to appear on the honor roll for this competition.

Holloway Boy

Became the first debutant to win at Royal Ascot for 26 years when he surprised in the Chesham Stakes at odds of 40-1. Has been beaten in his three starts since, but still performed well in the Vintage, Tattersalls (who needed it after missing work behind Nostrum) and Autumn Stakes.

The race at Newmarket last time was the first time he attempted a mile – which should have been fine – and he couldn’t secure a clear run in the closing stages. He has a little less than two lengths to find with Epictète on this start on a soft surface, which on pedigree may suit him.

It is also equipped with cheekbones for the first time. Clearly needs to find improvement but not completely ruled out.

Holloway Boy won the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot on his debut.
Holloway Boy won the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot on his debut.

king of steel

Giant son of Wootton Bassett who showed he handled the mild conditions well at Nottingham last week with an easy first win over the extended mile.

He did well from a wide draw but his time was almost two seconds slower than the girl’s other division. It’s clearly a huge step up in the class and we’ll know a lot more now about how big its engine is inside that big 17-hand frame.

Salt Lake City

After an encouraging start behind National Stakes winner Al Riffa at the Curragh, he was a bitter disappointment at York in the Friendly Maiden when he slipped from a good position early in the closing stages.

Perhaps the terrain was too lively? Either way, he looked in much better shape as he forced the problem forward and raced home five lengths, out, at Navan on soft ground.

The fact that he is here must be a positive sign, because I understand that he aligns himself on his own merits.


From the yard that won this with Elm Park and Kameko, this full brother of Arabian Queen looked useful against Newbury last time out when he beat three rivals in style to lose his first tag the fourth time around.

Newbury’s form isn’t good enough as it is (the runner-up has since been beaten) and he needs to find more in this deeper ground (handling good to soft, but to run on softness).


Donnacha O’Brien was honest enough to say Sky Sports Racing he was racing his handsome colt Proud And Regal in France on Saturday to avoid coming up against his father’s highly esteemed Auguste Rodin.

It’s clear that Ryan Moore’s mount is the one to beat here, after watching the game in Leopardstown, and the conditions don’t scare him. It is priced accordingly.

Stablemate Salt Lake City, whose young girls form is very solid, can offer some value on this test surface. It could even be a 1-2 O’Brien. Epictetus needs to get more out of it, but he’s going the right way and has the right to find it. Will the name Gosden appear on the winner’s trophy one day?

Its price is just a bit short now to guarantee you a refund if it is placed. Just a note about Holloway Boy as the terrain might suit him and he now has a headgear to help him. I feel like we haven’t seen the best of him yet.

Sky Sports

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