Vertem Futurity Trophy
Group 1, Doncaster 15:25
£200,000 added,
2yo only,
1m, Class 1    
Saturday 27th October 2018

1 Magna Grecia 2/1F
2 Phoenix Of Spain 11/2
3 Western Australia 50/1
11 ran Distances: hd, ¾l, shd
Time: 1m 37.72s (slow by 1.72s)

Trainer Aidan O'Brien lands his ninth Vertem Futurity Trophy

Magna Grecia
© Caroline Norris
Magna Grecia

Narrowly defeated in the Autumn Stakes by Andre Fabre’s Persian King last time out, Magna Grecia stayed on best of all to narrowly deny Charlie Hills’ Phoenix Of Spain.

Stablemates Western Australia and Circus Maximus ensured the race was run at a solid gallop, but it was Donnacha O’Brien’s mount who just prevailed by a head as the 2-1 favourite.

O’Brien said: “I’m delighted with him, he’s still a bit babyish but he’s coming forward lovely.

“We think a mile will be his thing next year.”

The result provided his young rider with yet another Group One in what has been a stellar season.

Set to be crowned Irish champion jockey, he has also won the Oaks, 2000 Guineas and Irish Derby among a host of big-race successes this term.

A stewards’ inquiry was called as there appeared to be contact between the first two, initially when Magna Grecia moved out from behind his stable companions to make his challenge and then just before the line, but there was no change to the result.

MansionBet offer 16-1 about Magna Grecia for next year’s Derby, but O’Brien snr is far from certain about the limitations of his stamina.

He added: “He would have learned a lot today. He had to knuckle down which he did the last day too.

“We thought he might be a miler, but he’s out of Galileo mare which gives him a chance.

“I always thought if he got a mile we’d be delighted. Maybe he will stay further.

“He showed plenty of pace in the spring. He kept going and he’s a big, strong horse, so maybe he will get a mile and a half.”

He went on: “Donnacha thinks there’s a chance he’ll get a mile and a quarter. He was happy with him and said he put his head down and battled for him.

“The lads usually look at the Guineas and we train them for that and see after that.

“Western Australia has run a good race too.”

Hills was thrilled with his colt’s performance and is looking forward to next year.

He said: “He had the form and he’s a seriously good horse. He’s had a great season and has got the mile well.

“He’s a nice horse to look forward to next year obviously.

“They went a good gallop there and he got it pretty well. If he gets a mile and a quarter, all the better. If he gets a mile and a half, even better.”

Jamie Spencer, rider of Phoenix Of Spain, was referred to British Horseracing Authority Headquarters having been found guilty of using his whip above the permitted level but it was his fifth offence in six months which warranted between two and six days.


Vertem Futurity Trophy (Group 1) (Straight Course)
£231,000 added, 2yo only, 1m, Class 1
11 ran
Going: Good to Soft, Good in places

Pos Dr D Horse SP Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st (11) Magna Grecia (IRE) 2/1f D O'Brien
A P O'Brien 2
2nd (4) hd Phoenix Of Spain (IRE) 11/2 J P Spencer
C Hills 2
3rd (8) ¾ Western Australia (IRE) 50/1 M C Hussey
A P O'Brien 2
4th (9) s.h Circus Maximus (IRE) 16/1 W M Lordan
A P O'Brien 2
5th (3) nk Great Scot 14/1 R Kingscote
Tom Dascombe 2
6th (5) 2 Kick On 16/1 K T O'Neill
J H M Gosden 2
7th (1) Turgenev 7/2 L Dettori
J H M Gosden 2
8th (6) Dashing Willoughby 16/1 David Probert
A M Balding 2
9th (10) King Ottokar (USA) 20/1 Ben Curtis
C Fellowes 2
10th (2) Raakib Alhawa (IRE) 6/1 Andrea Atzeni
D M Simcock 2
11th (7) 11 Kuwait Currency (USA) 33/1 Tom Marquand
R Hannon 2


Year Horse Trainer Jockey Owner SP

2017 Saxon Warrior Aidan O'Brien Ryan Moore Mr D Smith, Mrs J Magnier, Mr M Tabor 13/8F
2016 Rivet William J Haggas Andrea Atzeni The Starship Partnership 11/4
2015 Marcel Peter Chapple-Hyam Andrea Atzeni Paul Hancock 33/1
2014 Elm Park Andrew Balding Andrea Atzeni Qatar Racing Limited 13/8F
2013 Kingston Hill Roger Varian Andrea Atzeni Paul D Smith 7/2F

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