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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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