Luxembourg wins a 10th Vertem Futurity Trophy for Aidan O’Brien

October 25, 2021

Luxembourg (4/6f) and jockey Ryan Moore provided Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien with a 10th victory in the Group 1 Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster, England, on Saturday.

The son of Coolmore stallion Camelot was a first win in the season’s final Group 1 contest for the Ballydoyle handler since Magna Grecia in 2018.

Lumembourg, who was only having the third race of his career, won on debut in Killarney, Ireland, before taking the Group 2 Beresford Stakes at The Curragh in impressive fashion,

The Doncaster win has seen Luxembourg installed as a warm favourite for the Cazoo Derby at Epsom, England, next June, with some betting firms going as short as 4/1 for the premier Classic. He is also top of the market for the first Classic of next season, the QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket in May.

The winner looked comfortable throughout the contest at Doncaster on Saturday and it was O’Brien’s youngest son who was his biggest challenger on the day in the shape of eventual second place-finisher Sissoko (9/1), who is handled by O’Brien Junior.

Though Sissoko had only won his maiden more than a week prior to his Doncaster run, the performance should give Donnacha O’Brien plenty hope throughout the winter months, with the son of Australia likely to be aimed at the Classics next year.

The previous Champagne Stakes winner and Darley Dewhurst third-placer Roger Varian’s Bayside Boy (9/2) finished third but neither he nor the runner-up were ever any serious danger to the easy winner. His 2022 season start will also likely be at Newmarket, his conditioner admitted after the race.

The victorious rider Ryan Moore was impressed with the winner, telling the media post-race:

“I’m delighted with him. He is a really smart horse, very scopey. That’s three races and three wins. We’re delighted with what he’s done and he’s an exciting horse to look forward to (next season).”

For the successful trainer, Aidan O’Brien, it was an 18th Group 1 victory of the season, a year in which he also took 7 Classic victories. He hinted that the winner will likely begin his 2022 campaign in the one-mile QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, England, in May, before being aimed at the 1 mile 4 furlong Cazoo Derby at Epsom the following.

As his sire, Camelot, stayed the mile and a half distance and won the Derby, this precocious colt is likely to stay the distance next season.

O’Brien, who first won the Vertem Futurity Trophy, then named The Racing Post Trophy, in 1997 with Saratoga Springs, won two years later with Aristotle. Subsequent Epsom Derby winner High Chaparral took the contest in 2001 with Brian Boru winning the following year for the Coolmore-Ballydoyle team. 

It would be 7 years before St Nicholas Abbey, in the colours of Derrick Smith, gave County Wexford-born Aidan O’Brien his fifth win in the race.

Epsom Derby victor Camelot, the sire of Saturday’s winner, Luxembourg, was O’Brien’s next success in 2011 with Kingsbarns winning the following season.

A period of five barren years elapsed before the Ballydoyle conditioner won with Saxon Warrior in 2017, with Magna Grecia added to the winning list the next year.

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Photo: Luxembourg ( Doncaster Racecourse Twitter)

Contributing Authors

Breandán Ó hUallacháin

Breandán Ó hUallacháin lives in Ireland and writes specifically about Irish, British and French horseracing, both National Hunt and Flat. He has an interest in...

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