Image reproduced with the kind permission of Doncaster Racecourse

First run in 1961 as the Timeform Gold Cup, the Vertem Futurity Trophy, at Doncaster Racecourse, is the final Group One race of the UK turf flat season and a pointer to the following season’s Classics.

Contested over a mile, it was founded by Phil Bull, the creator of Timeform, and was backed by this organisation until 1964. The following year, the Observer newspaper sponsored the race and the Observer Gold Cup was classed at Group 1 level.

The bookmaker William Hill took over the sponsorship in 1976, and from this point the event was known as the Futurity Stakes.

This continued to 1988 and from 1989 to 2017 the race was sponsored by the Racing Post and run as the Racing Post Trophy.

The race was given its current title in 2018, when John Dance’s Vertem Asset Management became the sponsor.

Notable early winners included the brilliant filly Noblesse, who went on to wins the Oaks, while Ribocco won the Irish Derby and the St Leger at three.

The race’s profile was significantly raised after the 1967 winner, Vaguely Noble, went on to land the following season’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

1969 saw Approval give Henry Cecil one of the first big race triumphs of a glittering career. Cecil would win the Futurity on no fewer than ten occasions.

High Top won the race in 1971 and would land the following season’s 2,000 Guineas.

The 1974 winner hailed from France in the shape of Green Dancer. The Alex Head-trained colt would win the French 2,000 Guineas of 1975 and later became an influential stallion.

In 1980 there was a vintage renewal. Beldale Flutter, trained by Michael Jarvis, defeated the once-raced Shergar. Both colts proved Group One winners at three, with Shergar carrying all before him.

In 1986, Henry Cecil was again in the spot light, as his colt Reference Point stormed to an emphatic five-length success. The following year, after a sinus operation, he won the Dante Stakes, Derby, King George VI& Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes, Great Voltigeur Stakes and the St Leger.

Armiger was a runaway winner for Cecil in 1992 and he saddled his final winner the following year, when future King George winner King’s Theatre landed the Racing Post Trophy.

Celtic Swing and Kevin Darley are clear in the 1994 Racing Post Trophy Copyright www.cranhamphoto.com

In 1994, Celtic Swing put up an almost freakish performance under Kevin Darley, winning the race by a staggering dozen lengths.

Medaaly landed the 1996 race, with future Derby winner Benny The Dip coming home third. A year later, Saratoga Springs was a first success in the race for up and coming Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien.

The new master of Ballydoyle was successful again in 1999 with Aristotle and then in 2001, High Chaparral served notice of his potent force with victory. He would go on to win an English and Irish Derby and two Breeders’ Cup Turfs.

In 2002 it was O’Brien again, as Brian Boru won the Racing Post Trophy. He would later add a St Leger to his cv.

The race was proving a fertile oasis for future Classic winners and 2003 produced another, as American Post won the race before later landing the French 2,000 Guineas.

Motivator wins the 2005 Derby Image by www.cranhamphoto.com

In 2004, the highly-rated Motivator won for Michael Bell. This top class colt went on to win the Derby at Epsom the following season.

It was a similar path that was trodden by Authorized, the 2006 Racing Post Trophy winner. Peter Chapple-Hyam trained the colt for the Derby at Epsom and provided Lanfranco Dettori with a first victory in the Blue Riband.

The classy St Nicholas Abbey impressed in the 2009 renewal but disappointed during his truncated three year-old career. However, as an older horse, St Nicholas Abbey won the hearts and minds of race fans around the world. He won three Coronation Cups, a Dubai Sheema Classic and a Breeders’ Cup Turf, all under the guidance of Aidan O’Brien.

The same trainer enjoyed success in 2011 with Camelot, who came within a whisker of winning the Triple Crown in 2012. The colt won the 2,000 Guineas, Derby and Irish Derby and was second in the St Leger to Encke.

Kingsbarns added yet another victory for O’Brien in 2012, before Roger Varian landed the race with Kingston Hill. A year later, Varian’s charge was back at Doncaster, having already finished second in the Derby – and landed the St Leger.

Kingston Hill

Kingston Hill’s victory was the first of a remarkable sequence of four straight wins in the race for jockey Andrea Atzeni. Further victories followed on Elm Park, Marcel and Rivet.

Saxon Warrior after his 2,000 Guineas victory

Then Aidan O’Brien took over again, training Saxon Warrior to beat Roaring Lion in a vintage renewal in 2017. Saxon Warrior went on to win the 2,000 Guineas the following year, while Roaring Lion was named Horse Of The Year 2018 with five Group One triumphs.

Magna Grecia beats King Of Change in the Qipco 2,000 Guineas

O’Brien again produced the winner in 2018, when Magna Grecia landed the spoils from Phoenix Of Spain. He too went on to land the 2,000 Guineas the following season, while the runner-up, won the Irish 2,000 Guineas.

Vertem Futurity Trophy Winners

1961

Miralgo

1962

Noblesse

1963

Pushful

1964

Hardicanute

1965

Pretendre  

1966

Ribocco

1967

Vaguely Noble

1968

The Elk

1969

Approval

1970

Linden Tree

1971

High Top

1972

Noble Decree

1973

Apalachee

1974

Green Dancer

1975

Take Your Place

1976

Sporting Yankee

1977

Dactylographer

1978

Sandy Creek

1979

Hello Gorgeous

1980

Beldale Flutter

1981

Count Pahlen

1982

Dunbeath

1983

Alphabatim

1984

Lanfranco

1985

Bakharoff

1986

Reference Point

1987

Emmson

1988

Al Hareb

1989

Be My Chief

1990

Peter Davies

1991

Seattle Rhyme

1992

Armiger

1993

King’s Theatre

1994

Celtic Swing

1995

Beauchamp King

1996

Medaaly

1997

Saratoga Springs

1998

Commander Collins

1999

Aristotle

2000

Dilshaan

2001

High Chaparral

2002

Brian Boru

2003

American Post

2004

Motivator

2005

Palace Episode

2006

Authorized

2007

Ibn Khaldun

2008

Crowded House

2009

St Nicholas Abbey

2010

Casamento

2011

Camelot

2012

Kingsbarns

2013

Kingston Hill

2014

Elm Park

2015

Marcel

2016

Rivet

2017

Saxon Warrior

2018

Magna Grecia