The Group 1 Vertem Futurity Stakes is the final Group 1 contest of the year in British racing.

Contested at Doncaster, the race used to be contested around the left-handed bends, but in recent years has been run on the straight mile.

The event was established in 1961, and it was originally called the Timeform Gold Cup. It was founded by Phil Bull, the creator of Timeform, and was backed by this organisation until 1964.

The Observer started to support the event in 1965. The present grading system was introduced in 1971, 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.

The race was given its current title in 1989, when the Racing Post became the sponsor. The race is now the last Group 1 event of the British flat racing season.

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

Five winners have subsequently achieved victory in the following year’s Derby. The first was Reference Point, but it wasn’t until 2001 when High Chaparral became the second horse to win the race and later go on to Epsom glory. Motivator (2004) and Authorized (2006) completed the double and the most recent was Camelot (2011), who returned to Doncaster and in 2012 and narrowly missed out on completing the Triple Crown, having landed the 2,00 Guineas and Derby beforehand.

However, the race has thrown up plenty of other outstanding horses; in 1980, the smart colt Beldale Flutter won, beating the brilliant dual-Derby winner Shergar.

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

Kings Theatre proved a top class three year in 1994, having won the Racing Post Trophy the year before, while Celtic Swing was a spectacular winner of the Racing Post and went on to finish second in the 2,000 Guineas, before winning the 1995 Prix du Jockey Club.

More recently, St Nicholas Abbey looked destined for stardom after his 2009 victory, and whilst his three year old career was disappointing, he proved a brilliant Group 1 international globetrotter.

Kingston Hill (left) beats Romsdal (green colours) in the St Leger
Image by Steven Cargill

In 2013 the race went to Kingston Hill, who the following year ran second in the Investec Derby, before returning to Doncaster to win the St Leger.

Rivet storms home in the Racing Post Trophy
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Doncaster Racecourse

Marcel caused a shock in 2015 but the following year, Rivet completed a rare double as he added Group One glory to his Group Two success in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster the previous month.

Saxon Warrior

In 2017, there was a very classy renewal as the unbeaten Beresford Stakes winner, Saxon Warrior, got the better of the Royal Lodge Stakes winner Roaring Lion.

The latter had appeared likely to win, but seemed to veer across the track late on, with Saxon Warrior, running much straighter, getting back up.

Both horses proved top class three year olds, with Saxon Warrior again beating his rival when landing the Qipco 2,000 Guineas.

However, Roaring Lion won their other races, landing the Dante Stakes, Eclipse Stakes, Juddmonte International Stakes and Irish Champion Stakes.

In the autumn of 2018, it was announced that John Dance, of Laurens fame, would be sponsoring the race through his investment management company. In a lovely move, the race regained its former name and is now known as the Vertem Futurity.

 

Racing Post Trophy Past Winners

1961 Miralgo Harry Wragg
1962 Noblesse Paddy Prendergast
1963 Pushful S. Meaney
1964 Hardicanute Paddy Prendergast
1965 Pretendre Jack Jarvis
1966 Ribocco F. Johnson Houghton
1967 Vaguely Noble Walter Wharton
1968 The Elk Jeremy Tree
1969 Approval Henry Cecil
1970 Linden Tree Peter Walwyn
1971 High Top Bernard van Cutsem
1972 Noble Decree Bernard van Cutsem
1973 Apalachee Vincent O’Brien
1974 Green Dancer Alec Head
1975 Take Your Place Henry Cecil
1976 Sporting Yankee Peter Walwyn
1977 Dactylographer Peter Walwyn
1978 Sandy Creek Con Collins
1979 Hello Gorgeous Henry Cecil
1980 Beldale Flutter Michael Jarvis
1981 Count Pahlen Bruce Hobbs
1982 Dunbeath Henry Cecil
1983 Alphabatim Guy Harwood
1984 Lanfranco Henry Cecil
1985 Bakharoff Guy Harwood
1986 Reference Point Henry Cecil
1987 Emmson Dick Hern
1988 Al Hareb Neil Graham
1989 Be My Chief Henry Cecil
1990 Peter Davies Henry Cecil
1991 Seattle Rhyme David Elsworth
1992 Armiger Henry Cecil
1993 King’s Theatre Henry Cecil
1994 Celtic Swing Lady Herries
1995 Beauchamp King John Dunlop
1996 Medaaly Saeed bin Suroor
1997 Saratoga Springs Aidan O’Brien
1998 Commander Collins Peter Chapple-Hyam
1999 Aristotle Aidan O’Brien
2000 Dilshaan Sir Michael Stoute
2001 High Chaparral Aidan O’Brien
2002 Brian Boru Aidan O’Brien
2003 American Post Criquette Head-Maarek
2004 Motivator Michael Bell
2005 Palace Episode Kevin Ryan
2006 Authorized Peter Chapple-Hyam
2007 Ibn Khaldun Saeed bin Suroor
2008 Crowded House Brian Meehan
2009 St Nicholas Abbey Aidan O’Brien
2010 Casamento Michael Halford
2011 Camelot Aidan O’Brien
2012 Kingsbarns Aidan O’Brien
2013 Kingston Hill Roger Varian
2014 Elm Park Andrew Balding
2015 Marcel Peter Chapple-Hyam
2016 Rivet William Haggas
2017 Saxon Warrior Aidan O’Brien