Aidan O’Brien’s Epsom Derby favourite Luxembourg heads Futurity field

Trainer has won the race nine times including with Derby winners High Chaparral and Camelot

Séamie Heffernan wins the Beresford Stakes on Luxembourg at the Curragh  in September. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Séamie Heffernan wins the Beresford Stakes on Luxembourg at the Curragh in September. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

 

Hot favourite Luxembourg is set to face seven rivals in the Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster on Saturday.

Impressive on his racecourse debut at Killarney in July, the Camelot colt successfully stepped up in class at the Curragh last month when dominating his rivals in the Group Two Beresford Stakes.

Aidan O’Brien has already saddled nine winners of the final Group One of the British Flat season, with two Derby winners in High Chaparral and Camelot among those on the roll of honour for Ballydoyle.

Luxembourg is already at the top of ante-post lists for next year’s running of the premier Classic and his odds for Epsom can be expected to contract further if he can complete his hat-trick on Town Moor.

“We were delighted with him when he won the first time,” O’Brien told Sky Sports Racing.

“He was a very green baby when he won, he looked very nice and he’s had a little bit of time.

“He’s a big, rangy horse, he travels very easily usually through his races. He finds things very easy, he’s very easy to train and very natural really.

“I suppose he’s a big, scopey horse really with a lot of quality and a lot of quality to him to look at.

“I think when [his sire] Camelot won the Racing Post Trophy he’d only run once, this fella has had a run in between.

“The Doncaster race is a very prestigious race, it’s a flat mile so they have to have quick feet and they have to stay as well.

“At the same time it’s a tough race but they come out of it well, it’s not a slog, you have to travel, it’s a flat track and you would learn a lot about horse.

“This year’s race is no different, it’s a very strong, competitive race. There are horses with plenty of form in it, horses with plenty of experience really. ”

One of the big dangers to the market leader is the Mark Johnston-trained Royal Patronage, who was last seen charging home to beat subsequent Autumn Stakes scorer Coroebus in the Royal Lodge at Newmarket.

Roger Varian’s Bayside Boy also brings a high level of form to the table, having won Doncaster’s Champagne Stakes before finishing third in the Dewhurst a fortnight ago.

Imperial Fighter, trained by Andrew Balding, bids to make it third time lucky at Pattern level after finishing second to Royal Patronage in York’s Acomb Stakes and second to Coroebus in the Autumn Stakes.

Jim Bolger won last season’s Vertem Futurity Trophy with Mac Swiney and is this year represented by Leopardstown maiden winner McTigue.

Bullet Force (Karl Burke), Hannibal Barca (Brian Meehan) and Sissoko (Donnacha O’Brien) complete the octet.

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