Talking Horses: Luxembourg looks to stake Derby claim at Doncaster

Aidan O’Brien’s heavily backed colt can land a gamble and give the trainer his 10th win in the Vertem Futurity

The last four winners of the Vertem Futurity for two-year-olds have gone on to win Classics aged three and Luxembourg (3.10) will be a short-priced favourite for next year’s Derby if he can give Aidan O’Brien his 10th success in the final Group One of the British season at Doncaster on Saturday.

Luxembourg is a son of Camelot, who won this race in 2011, and showed an exceptional turn of foot to win the Beresford Stakes by nearly five lengths last month. The money has been coming for him all week and it will be a big surprise if the gamble goes astray.

Cheltenham 1.45 Warm favourite Samarrive is an unknown quantity but will need to be useful at least to defy an opening mark of 132. Samba Dancer has made rapid strides recently and looks a better bet at around 6-1.

Newbury 2.00 Noble Truth went down by less than a length in Group One company last time and should find this Group Three a straightforward test.

Cheltenham 2.20 Many with chances but Storm Control has winning form over track and trip last November and will be tough to pass if he settles into a rhythm.

Newbury 2.35 Siskany has improved steadily this year and can take the step up to Group company in his stride.

Cheltenham 2.55 A small field and Stepney Causeway, the only regular front-runner, could be difficult to pass. Dan Skelton’s gelding looks over-priced at around 9-4 against likely favourite Tritonic, who was only fifth when fancied for the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

Cheltenham 3.30 Tough to put a line through any of the nine runners here, but Sky Pirate has an excellent record at this track and trip – highlighted by his narrow win in the Grand Annual at the Festival last time out – and that could tip the balance in his favour.

Doncaster 3.50 Flaming Rib completed a front-running hat-trick in nurseries in dominant fashion last time but faces a different class of opponent in this Listed contest. At the likely odds, Parisiac could be worth a small interest, having overcome very obvious inexperience to win at Nottingham earlier this month.

Cheltenham 4.05 Tullybeg did not take to chasing in the spring but he has been much-improved back over hurdles this autumn and still had something to spare when getting home by half-a-length at Gowran Park last time.

Doncaster 4.20 It took a while for Raasel’s switch to Mick Appleby to pay dividends, but he has been a revelation since returning from a mid-season break and put up another career-best last time out.


Greg Wood

The GuardianTramp

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