Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes Day - Doncaster
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Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes Day - Doncaster

Saturday sees Doncaster playing host to the final British Group 1 Flat race of the year - the Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes over the straight mile on Town Moor. That's the centrepiece of their seven-race card at Doncaster (1.20pm-4.45pm) on Saturday and the Racing Post previews all the action.


1.20pm - Scott Dobson Memorial Handicap (7f)

The move to Mark Walford this season has paid rich dividends for IT JUST TAKES TIME. He lived up to his name, taking a few runs to hit concert pitch, but since late June his form figures read 1121122, leaving his turf strike-rate at 37 per cent.

He's gone up another 3lb in the ratings for his Catterick second last weekend and this is very competitive, but he has a likeable attitude and should run well.

However, there are no shortage of plausible options in this packed field. Mystery Fox comes here off a win, though seems to reserve his best for Goodwood, while Golden Voice wasn't beaten all that far in a stronger Ascot race last month and has first-time cheekpieces to aid him now. He's in the mix for William Haggas.

Ivan Furtado's Eagleway is a class-dropper and could easily shine in this company.

Selection: It Just Takes Time

Next Best: Golden Voice


1.55pm - Vertem Leading The Field Nursery (7f)

Lion Of War could bounce back to the promise shown in winning his first two starts in the summer. Mark Johnston's colt really impressed at Leicester and Newcastle, before coming up shy in a Group 3 at Newmarket.

He wasn't disgraced last month in a Haydock Listed event over a mile, having cut out the running and he could do well in handicaps. His June form has taken plenty of knocks, though, and he has something to prove under Ryan Moore for the first time.

SERIOUS LOOK opened his account at the third time of asking when scoring in a novice at Epsom (7f, soft) in September and has since run a sound race around Lingfield when shipping weight in novice company. George Boughey's Dark Angel colt should improve again switched into a nursery and the long run for home here will suit.

Queen's Eyot won a Haydock nursery eight days ago on testing ground and must prove that can be repeated on a sounder surface with a quick turnaround, while Vecchio has improved with each of three runs for Martyn Meade - including when inched out over 6f at Nottingham this month - and he looks a sure-fire improver going up in trip on his handicap bow.

Selection: Serious Look

Next Best: Vecchio

Premier League Preview – Week 13, Saturday

Premier League Preview – Week 13, Saturday

2.30pm - Vertem Very Different Stockbrokers Handicap (1m4f)

Moktasaab won his first two starts of the season at Newbury and Goodwood (both 1m2f) but struggled a touch afterwards, albeit in very competitive company at this trip. He went close again last month at Newbury down in trip and should go well, but he's going to be priced accordingly.

SIR RUMI was second over C&D back in the spring in a Conditions race on reappearance and Richard Hannon's charge was rewarded for a consistent campaign with a slender Newbury win (1m4f, good) in September.

He did as well as could be expected since in a tactical affair over shorter on the all-weather at Kempton and, back up in distance, still appears on a very workable mark. Stamina is a key asset for him and the booking of Franke Dettori can only be a plus.

Lightly-raced three-year-old Wandering Rocks bagged his novice win here over 1m2f in July and he stayed on well to be third at Newbury last month off this mark. The Cheveley Park runner has Ryan Moore on board now and will relish a good test here. He has more to offer.

Selection: Sir Rumi

Next Best: Wandering Rocks


3.00pm - Carlsberg Marstons Doncaster Stakes (Listed, 6f)

He's come up shy in elite company at the Curragh and Newmarket lately but AESOP'S FABLES is already a Group 2 winner in Ireland and Aidan O'Brien's 111-rated son of No Nay Never sets a high bar for his eight rivals in this Listed contest.

His debut win at Navan in the spring was over 5½-furlongs, so this drop back in trip from 7f shouldn't pose a major concern for Ryan Moore's partner and they are going to be hard to beat.

Stablemate Hispanic was much-improved on third start when routing seven rivals to win a Curragh maiden over 5f last weekend in first-time blinkers (retained) and is respected, while John and Thady Gosden's Bresson and George Boughey's Al Dasim have scope for improvement.

Wodao is a Listed 5f winner in Ireland for Joseph O'Brien this season and could be sharper for this month's Group 3 Cornwallis Stakes run at Newmarket over that trip, his first start since June. He's interesting upped in trip under Oisin Orr now.

Selection: Aesop's Fables

Next Best: Wodao

Premier League Preview – Week 13, Sunday

Premier League Preview – Week 13, Sunday

3.35pm - Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes (Group 1, 1m)

The Ballydoyle machine will be hoping to quickly double-up as Augustine Robin seeks to hand O'Brien his 11th win in this concluding Group 1 of the British season.

That's enough to be tied with Sir Henry Cecil and he'll hope last month's Leopardstown Champions Juvenile Stakes winner can take him clear now. The Deep Impact colt has more on his plate this time, however and perhaps is short in the betting on that basis.

Epictetus performed with real credit finishing second in the Autumn Stakes at Newmarket (1m, good) this month on what was only a second start for John and Thady Gosden's Kingman colt.

He can offer more, but HOLLOWAY BOY was sent off favourite in that contest and probably found the race wasn't run to suit. A first-time visor is added by Karl Burke here and he's got each-way potential in a field of eight.

Selection: Holloway Boy

Next Best: Epictetus


4.10pm - Handicap (5f)

Kimngrace bounded three-lengths clear of her rivals at York (5f, good to soft) recently to record a second win in what has been a consistent season. The 3YO is entitled to still be on the up, but the handicapper has applied plenty pressure with an 8lb hike.

Whenthedealinsdone is in good form and cannot be factored out for Roger Teal, while Vintage Clarets has been second-best in recent starts at York (behind Kimngrace) and Catterick. Richard Fahey's charge is 7lb better off with that rival here and looks competitive again.

Thrice a winner in May, LULLABY BAY has taken some time to adjust to a higher rating and also contested in Listed company as recently as last month at Ayr.

The Profitable filly was nosed out by 100-rated Makanah in a Conditions contest at Musselburgh last time and while Clifford Lee sticks with stablemate and recent Nottingham winner Fast Response, Franny Norton can be the beneficiary.

Selection: Lullaby Bay

Next Best: Vintage Clarets

UFC 280 Preview

UFC 280 Preview

4.45pm - Think Smart At Vertem Handicap (7f)

No hiding place in the Doncaster 'get-out stakes' as a field of 22 have been declared for this finale.

THE COOKSTOWN CAFU returned from a wind operation to win at Pontefract this month for Kevin Ryan and he left the impression there was a bit more in the tank were it needed. He drops back to 7f now but that shouldn't pose a big worry and perhaps a mere 2lb rise in the ratings will underestimate him.

Cold Stare has fallen a long way in the ratings for David O'Meara this season and his recent Haydock second (6f, heavy) suggested he's soon going to capitalise. Any rain is a plus for him.

A winner a Carlisle over 7f on penultimate start, Emperor Caradoc ran well for a long way in that mile contest won by The Cookstown Cafu at Pontefract and should be suited coming back in distance.

Selection: The Cookstown Cafu

Next Best: Cold Stare






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