Vertem Futurity Trophy - Doncaster

Focus on the favourite

Wembley (2/1)

There is no doubt that Wembley has the best form on offer. He failed to meet expectations in the early part of his career, not getting off the mark until the fourth attempt at Roscommon in August, but it's difficult to find a fault with his last two efforts. He took a big step forward when runner-up to Thunder Moon in the Group 1 National Stakes at the Curragh, impressing with the surge he produced inside the final furlong, and he improved again when runner-up in the Dewhurst. Wembley didn't travel well at Newmarket and was pushed along at halfway, but he did some good late work, staying on in the style of a colt who will benefit from this step up to a mile. His pedigree also suggests that a stiffer test of stamina will be to his advantage and, given that he already sets a lofty standard, he looks good value at 2/1.

An outsider to consider

Megallan (10/1)

Megallan was only fourth behind the reopposing One Ruler in the Autumn Stakes at Newmarket last time, beaten over three lengths, but he shaped better than the result would suggest and could still have more to offer. Megallan travelled well at Newmarket but was short of room three furlongs out and was then shuffled to the rear as the race started to take shape. He still had plenty on his plate inside the final two furlongs but ran on well once in the clear without ever threatening to make a serious impact. That was an encouraging performance from a progressive, well-bred colt – his dam is a half-sister to Golden Horn – and he remains a smart prospect who has not shown everything he has to offer.

 

A stat to note

Charlie Appleby had five winners from eight runners on Wednesday

Charlie Appleby, the trainer of One Ruler, could hardly have his string in better form at present and he sent out a remarkable five winners on Wednesday. In fact, only one of his last 15 runners has finished out of the frame. That suggests stable form certainly won’t be an excuse for One Ruler, who has shown run-by-run progress and arrives on the back of a comfortable success in the Autumn Stakes. Only Wembley can boast better form than that shown by One Ruler at Newmarket, where he travelled powerfully and thoroughly saw out the mile. He could be the big danger and is priced accordingly at 5/2.

The Verdict

Aidan O’Brien has won this race a remarkable nine times and can secure a tenth success with Wembley. He was in danger of becoming disappointing earlier in the campaign but he has shown much-improved form of late to finish runner-up in a couple of strong Group 1s. Wembley boasts by far the strongest form and, even though the step up to a mile offers hope for further improvement, he probably won’t need to run up to his best to take this. There are some progressive, unexposed rivals in opposition, most notably One Ruler and Megallan, but Wembley sets a daunting standard and deserves to be shorter than 2/1.

Timeform weight-adjusted ratings:

  • 133 Wembley
  • 126p One Ruler
  • 124 State of Rest
  • 121 Mac Swiney
  • 118 Cobh
  • 116p Megallan