TRADITIONALISTS will keep calling it the Racing Post Trophy for a while, but tomorrow sees Doncaster’s one mile Group One contest run for the first time as the Vertem Futurity Trophy (4.05pm).
Some top class horses have won it over the years and last year’s renewal produced an incredible finish with Saxon Warrior just denying Roaring Lion.
Saxon Warrior’s victory gave Aidan O’Brien a record 26th Group One success of the year, as well as a ninth win in the race, one behind Sir Henry Cecil.
That horse went on to win the 2000 Guineas in May, but it’s Roaring Lion who will end the season as champion after four straight Group One successes.
O’Brien has decided to supplement MAGNA GRECIA this time and punters should sit up and take notice after the colt’s excellent display behind Persian King in the Autumn Stakes at Newmarket a fortnight ago.
I’m keen on the chances of Persian King for the 2000 Guineas, so I have to be with Magna Grecia in this at 13/8 with Coral.
The son of Invincible Spirit was really well backed at Newmarket and he should have too much for Turgenev and Phoenix Of Spain, before embarking on a Classic campaign next season.
If there is one jockey to follow at Doncaster, it’s Andrea Atzeni, who remarkably won the Vertem Futurity four times in a row between 2013 and 2016.
No rider has a better record on Town Moor and he has ridden more here than at any other course this calendar year.
Trainers like to book him early and I hope he won’t be waiting long for a winner as I fancy his mount SAN DONATO to get the job done in the opening Listed Doncaster Stakes (1.45pm).
This son of Lope De Vega was thought good enough to run in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.
The ground was probably a little too quick that day, but he was given time to recover and got off the mark in a novice contest at Haydock last month when dropped back to six furlongs.
That was a decent effort which he followed up in fine style at Kempton a few weeks later.
He’s clearly got a powerful engine, while Roger Varian’s horses are in flying form, so he looks a good bet at 11/4 with Coral.
The biggest danger could well be Ralph Beckett’s Dave Dexter who has plenty of experience and was a fair second in the Rockingham Stakes at York a fortnight ago.
You don’t get much more complex puzzles than the five furlong sunracing.co.uk Handicap (3.25pm) where a maximum field of 22 is set to go to post.
Michael Dods has had a fantastic season and he looks to hold a strong hand with the likes of Camacho Chief, Dakota Gold and Holmeswood.
Foolaad goes well here so he can’t be ruled out after getting back to winning ways last time.
However, the one I like at a monster price is ORNATE on just his sixth start for trainer David Griffiths, who has proven a dab hand with sprinters.
Seemingly around for ages, Ornate is still only a five-year-old and he’s been set some pretty stiff tasks this season.
Rated 110 in his pomp, when under the tutelage of Robert Cowell, he’s now down to a career low mark of 94 and there were definite signs of a revival last time at Musselburgh.
That was his first start for 118 days, following a wind operation, but he showed all his customary dash only to get tired in the closing stages.
Admittedly, plenty has gone wrong for him over the past 12 months, so it requires a leap of faith to back him, but he’s very well-handicapped and will be fine in the conditions.
That man Atzeni gets the leg up and I’m prepared to throw a few quid on him each-way at 20/1 with Ladbrokes.
San Donato 1.45pm Doncaster
Ornate e/w 3.25pm Doncaster
Magna Grecia 4.05pm Doncaster