Vertem Futurity Trophy Tips: Sissoko the value play against Luxembourg at Doncaster

Check out our tip for the Vertem Futurity Trophy.
Check out our tip for the Vertem Futurity Trophy.

It's the final Group 1 of the season at Doncaster on Saturday afternoon, as a quality field of juveniles line up in the Vertem Futurity Trophy, and our in-house tipster Steve Chambers picks out his best bet for the contest...

Aidan O'Brien has won this race a staggering nine times during his illustrious career, and the master of Ballydoyle will bid to make it ten on Saturday when he saddles the red-hot favourite Luxembourg in the showpiece event on Town Moor. The legendary Sir Henry Cecil has trained ten winners of this contest, so O'Brien will be eager to join the legendary trainer in double figures, and in Luxembourg he will saddle a hugely exciting youngster, who is the 8/1 ante-post favourite for the 2022 Derby at Epsom Downs.

This has become one of the key trials for the Classics the following campaign, and Luxembourg showed his class when he sauntered to a near five-length success in the Group 2 Beresford Stakes at the Curragh last month. Making it two wins from two starts that day, the son of Camelot cruised clear in the closing stages to highlight his class, but he will face a much sterner test on Saturday with some proven top notch performers taking him on.

Hovering around the Even money mark with the bookmakers, at the time of writing, Luxembourg is plenty short enough for a horse that is yet to have beaten a host of quality rivals, but with O'Brien's fabulous record in the event, and with more surely to come from the Ballydoyle charge then he's going to be extremely tough to beat.

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Two of Luxembourg's main rivals sit second and third in the betting, respectively, and both have tasted Group success on British shores this season, and that pair are Mark Johnston's Royal Patronage and the Roger Varian-trained Bayside Boy. The former has racked up a fabulous three-race winning streak which saw him grab glory in the Acomb Stakes at York and the Royal Lodge at Newmarket. The latter of that duo of Group races saw him reel in the top notch youngster Coroebus, which is superb form to have in the book, and he will be one that relishes a scrap.

With much more experience under his belt, Royal Patronage has to be regarded as a major adversary to the jolly, and while he may not have too much improvement ahead of him - unlike Luxembourg, he's sure to run a solid race, and if the favourite fails to live up to the hype then he could be the one to capitalise.

Bayside Boy will return to the venue of his biggest career success, as he was a shock winner of the Champagne Stakes earlier in the season, where he beat the exciting Reach For The Moon in style. But, he failed to build on that effort when only finishing third in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes last time out. Well beaten that day by Native Trail, Bayside Boy ran creditably, but it could be that he just lacks the class to sparkle at the highest level.

Over two lengths behind Royal Patronage in the Acomb Stakes, Imperial Fighter will look to finish closer to Johnston's raider when the pair clash again on Saturday. Behind Coroebus in the Autumn Stakes last time out, Andrew Balding's son of The Gurkha appears to be another contender that may just lack that class needed to star at the highest level, so can be ignored.

One further down the betting that is worth a second look is the Donnacha O'Brien-trained SISSOKO, who like Luxembourg is only a twice-raced juvenile, but the manner in which he broke his maiden tag last time out suggested that he could be a really classy performer in the future. The son of Australia quickened impressively in a 9f Curragh event only nine days ago, and under a hands and heels ride the O'Brien youngster eased comfortably clear of his rivals to claim his first career success.

Now, there's no denying that this is a huge step up in grade, but for him to be making a quick turnaround suggests that he must be firing on all cylinders back at home, and a crack at the final Group 1 of the season is worth a shot about a horse that could be a leading Derby player next year. It could be that the drop back to a mile here may not prove ideal, but he's sure to be doing all his best work late on, and with double-figured odds available with a field of eight heading to post then he warrants terrific each-way value in a market dominated by the red-hot Ballydoyle favourite.

15:15 Doncaster - Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes
Sissoko silk

Sissoko (EW)

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