Vertem Futurity Trophy
Group 1, Doncaster 15:35
£200,000 guaranteed,
2yo only,
1m, Class 1    
Saturday 22nd October 2022


1 Auguste Rodin 9/4F
2 Epictetus 3/1
3 Holloway Boy 9/2
8 ran Distances: 3½l, 1¾l, 3¾l
Time: 1m 44.76s (slow by 7.86s)

Ante-post Derby favourite Auguste Rodin dismissed concerns about the heavy ground at Doncaster to provide Aidan O’Brien with a record 11th success in the Group One.

O’Brien did not give the green light for the son of the late, great Japanese stallion Deep Impact, out of Coolmore’s own Rhododendron, to run until the race before.

What O’Brien did not reveal, though, was a cunning plan to let the rest of the field take the usual route against the far rail while his two runners and Frankie Dettori on Epictetus took the usually shunned near-side route.

At halfway it looked the wrong decision, as the main group were well clear and Ryan Moore realised he was going to have to make a move.

By then Royal Ascot winner Holloway Boy had gone clear and it looked sure to be a shootout across the width of the track, only for Karl Burke’s runner to veer markedly to his right and at one point the pair looked on course for a collision.


Auguste Rodin kept straight and true, however, and the 9-4 favourite came clear to beat Epictetus by an impressive three and a half lengths with Holloway Boy third.

O’Brien is now the most successful trainer in the race, moving clear of the late Sir Henry Cecil with 11 winners in a contest which has a great record in unearthing future stars. Five have gone on to win the Derby, while Saxon Warrior, Magna Grecia and Kameko went on to win the Guineas between 2017 and 2019.

QuinnBet make the winner their 5-1 favourite for the Guineas and 3-1 favourite for the Derby.

“We came here with the intention of not taking him out, but we discussed it with the lads and said if the ground was heavy we wouldn’t run.” said O’Brien.

“Ryan (Moore) rode in the first race and said it was soft ground, not heavy, and then when we walked the track we didn’t feel it was heavy ground – certainly not compared with what you see in France.

“We felt it worth letting him take his chance, it wasn’t going to do the horse any harm and it would be better for him next year if we ran. It probably wasn’t ideal but we’re delighted.

“It wasn’t easy to do what he did but we couldn’t be happier. The reason they came down the near side is that the ground was very cut up in the middle, the only bit of ground that hadn’t been raced on.

“We felt while we might not see him at his best, the experience would do him good and if he wasn’t going to put his foot in a divot or twist his ankle or anything, the experience he would gain was vital.”


A massive factor in O’Brien’s success is that he knows the families he is dealing with, and Auguste Rodin’s dam finished second in the 1000 Guineas and the Epsom Oaks.

“He’s out of Rhododenron and by Deep Impact, so it was amazing the lads sent her over there and then it turned out this was his last crop,” said O’Brien.

“He was very green first time at the Curragh and then won at Naas but he needed a break, so when he ran at Leopardstown he needed the run. We were happy there but Ryan felt he was babyish in front.

“We felt there was an awful lot of improvement to come and he was brilliant today – it was brilliant it worked out, it doesn’t always and he’s exciting for next year.”

As ever in racing, thoughts quickly move on to what is next, and listening to O’Brien the world appears to be Auguste Rodin’s oyster.

“I would say he’d have no problem starting in the Guineas, he has a lot of class and would love starting off on good ground at Newmarket. You would imagine he’d get a mile and a quarter on his ear and usually horses of that class have no problem in the Derby over a mile and a half,” said the Ballydoyle handler.

“He really is something to look forward to. He’s very clear winded, he’s got a good mind, has a beautiful physique, he has a lot of scope and looks to have all the right things.

“Rhododendron was very special and I’d forgotten but Paul Smith (co-owner Derrick Smith’s son) told me when they were down at the start she had finished second to Enable in the Oaks on soft ground (described as good but run in a thunder storm), so that gave us some hope.”

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Vertem Futurity Trophy (Group 1) (Straight Course)
£200,000 guaranteed, 2yo only, 1m, Class 1
8 ran
Going: Heavy

1 (6)      Auguste Rodin 2 9-3 A P O'Brien Ryan Moore 9/4F
2 (7)
Epictetus 2 9-3 John & Thady Gosden Frankie Dettori 3/1
3 (5)
¾ Holloway Boy 2 9-3 K R Burke Daniel Tudhope 9/2
4 (3)
Dancing Magic 2 9-3 Roger Teal Jim Crowley 14/1
5 (8)
nk Salt Lake City 2 9-3 A P O'Brien Wayne Lordan 7/1
6 (1)
shd Captain Wierzba 2 9-3 Ralph Beckett Rob Hornby 40/1
7 (2)
nk King Of Steel 2 9-3 David Loughnane Adam Kirby 12/1
8 (4)
2 Stormbuster 2 9-3 Andrew Balding David Probert 7/1


Year Horse Trainer Jockey Owner SP

2021 Luxembourg Aidan O'Brien Ryan Moore Westerberg, Mrs J Magnier, M Tabor, D Smith 4/6F
2020 Mac Swiney J S Bolger Kevin Manning Mrs J S Bolger 12/1
2019 Kameko Andrew Balding Oisin Murphy Qatar Racing 11/2
2018 Magna Grecia Aidan O'Brien Donnacha O'Brien D Smith & Mrs J Magnier & M Tabor & Flaxman Stables 2/1F

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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