The Group 1 Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster is a recognised Classic trial for two-year-olds (formerly known as The Racing Trophy).
Classic winners to win here include Reference Point (1986), High Chaparral (2001) and Camelot (2011).
- 1 The Race – The Vertem Futurity Trophy
- 2 Famous Futurity Trophy and Racing Post Winners & History
- 3 Key Futurity Trophy Trials
- 4 Futurity Trophy Betting Trends
- 5 Futurity Trophy Stats
- 6 Top Trainers and Jockeys
- 7 Betting on the Futurity Trophy 2021
- 8 Summary
The Race – The Vertem Futurity Trophy
The Futurity Trophy takes place over a mile in October and often on soft ground.
Doncaster racecourse is one of the flattest tracks in the country but still provides a tough test for two-year-olds.
The long home straight puts the emphasis firmly on stamina in this race, particularly when conditions are testing.
Famous Futurity Trophy and Racing Post Winners & History
The race was created by Phil Bull in 1961 and was originally called the Timeform Gold Cup. The sponsorship has changed several times since but it was probably best known as the Racing Post Trophy (1989 to 2017).
Vertem became the latest sponsor in 2018.
Notable early winners of this race include Ribocco (1966), Vaguely Noble (1967) and High Top (1971).
In 1980 Shergar started hot favourite for this race but suffered a rare defeat behind Beldale Flutter. He redeemed his reputation as a three-year-old with a record 10 lengths victory in the Epsom Derby.
1986 Futurity winner Reference Point also went on to win the Derby but the next Classic winner produced here was Celtic Swing in 1994. He had won his previous race by 8 lengths at Ascot but few expected him to rout the opposition in this Group 1 contest. He powered 12 lengths clear in the home straight to leap to the head of the ante-post betting for the Derby. He was beaten in the 2000 Guineas and re-routed to the French Derby where he gained a hard-fought Classic victory.
High Chaparral (2001) and Motivator (2004) both went on to win the Epsom Derby.
The race was run at Newbury in 2006 while Doncaster was redeveloped and victory went to 25-1 outsider Authorized. He was quoted at 16-1 for the Derby immediately after the Futurity. An impressive win in the Dante Stakes at York resulted in him starting 5-4 favourite at Epsom. Frankie Dettori was seeking his first Derby win at the fifteenth attempt and the combination won easily by five lengths.
Camelot won here in 2011 and almost emulated English Triple Crown winner Nijinsky. He won the 2000 Guineas and the Derby but his Triple Crown bid was thwarted by Encke in the St Leger.
Brian Boru (2002) and Kingston Hill (2013) both won the Futurity and St Leger at Doncaster.
Having become established as the top trial for staying colts, the Futurity has now produced three successive 2000 Guineas winners in Saxon Warrior (2017), Magna Grecia (2018) and Kameko (2019).
The 2019 renewal was re-arranged to Newcastle after Doncaster was abandoned due to waterlogging.
Key Futurity Trophy Trials
The Autumn Stakes at Newmarket has proved a good guide to the Futurity Stakes in recent years. Ibn Khaldun (2007) and Kingston Hill (2013) both won that race before following up at Doncaster. Magna Grecia finished second in the Autumn Stakes before winning here in 2018.
The Group 2 Beresford Stakes at Naas is another significant trial with St Nicholas Abbey (2009), Casamento (2010) and Saxon Warrior (2017) all winning both races.
Andrew Balding won the Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket with Elm Park (2014) before winning here. He followed the same path with Kameko (2019), second in the Royal Lodge before winning the Futurity.
Futurity Trophy Betting Trends
Favourites have a fine record in the Futurity Stakes, winning seven of the last ten renewals.
Casamento (2010), Camelot (2011), Kingsbarns (2012), Kingston Hill (2013) and Elm Park (2014) all started clear market leader. The sequence came to an abrupt halt with 33-1 outsider Mercel in 2015, trained by Peter Chapple-Hyam.
Shock results are few and far between in this top two-year-old race where the betting usually provides a reliable guide.
Saxon Warrior (2017) and Magna Grecia (2018) were heavily-backed favourites with Kameko returning at odds of 11-2 in 2019.
Futurity Trophy Stats
- Most recent Futurity winners had won on their previous start.
- There are not many opportunities for two-year-olds over a mile but a high percentage of past winners had already tackled the Classic distance.
- This is a tough test for an inexperienced juvenile and most winners had raced at least twice, often including a Group race.
- Half of recent winners had at least one victory in a Group 1 to 3 race.
- An official rating of 98 or higher is usually required to win this race.
Top Trainers and Jockeys
Sir Henry Cecil recorded an astonishing 10 winners in this race between 1969 and 1993. Only Reference Point (1986) went on to Classic success as a three-year-old. His last victory came with Kings Theatre in 1993, runner-up in the English Derby to Erhaab and the Irish Derby behind Balanchine.
Aidan O’Brien is rapidly closing in on Sir Henry’s record, Magna Grecia providing him with a ninth winner in 2018. That colt went on to become the fifth O’Brien-trained Futurity winner to enjoy Classic success following Camelot, High Chaparral, Brian Boru and Saxon Warrior. His other winners include the globetrotting St Nicholas Abbey (2009), a three-time winner of the Coronation Cup and the winner of the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Turf.
Jockeys Lester Piggott and Pat Eddery share the record of five Vertem Futurity Trophy winners.
Andrea Atzeni rode four successive winners here between 2013 and 2016. He was successful on Kingston Hill, Elm Park, Marcel and Rivet.
Betting on the Futurity Trophy 2021
The betting market on the Futurity Stakes opens in the build-up to the race.
Caution is advised, particularly with the Aidan O’Brien entries as he often has two or more runners here.
Most bookmakers will offer “Non-runner – No Bet” terms in the week of the race.
If you are looking to bet online we recommend the following great deals:
The Futurity Stakes has an incredible record of producing Classic winners.
With three 2000 Guineas winner in a row, the race will inevitably have a big impact on the ante-post betting for that race and the Epsom Derby.
Racing fans will be hoping that it can produce another champion to look forward to the following spring.