King Of Steel: Stallion hotly contested for Saturday's Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster

Loughnane opens up about the impressive Nottingham winner ahead of the Group 1 Test | Horse racing news

Alan Crowhurst (Getty Images)

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King Of Steel: Stallion hotly contested for Saturday’s Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster

Alan Crowhurst (Getty Images)

By Lola Katz Roberts

Connections of King Of Steel are hoping his ‘extraordinary’ spirit and attitude can help him beat them in the Group 1 Vertem Futurity Trophy against hot favorite Auguste Rodin on Saturday in Doncaster (3.35pm).

Wootton Bassett’s son was an impressive winner in Nottingham this month Adam Kirby and returns quickly, with just ten days between that race and his debut success.

King Of Steel will look to give coach Dave Loughnane and owner Amo Racing, managed by football agent Kia Joorabchian, their first triumphs at the highest level, meeting seven rivals in the mile competition.

Loughnane said: “It’s a big step from the maiden company to a Group 1. We thought we’d take a risk and see how he runs and if he can improve from his first run.

“It’s hard to say what we beat in Nottingham as none of them had a grade yet but he’s been very impressive and fingers crossed that he can make progress and have a nice race.

“He showed on this debut that he has an exceptional spirit and attitude. He’s very light on his feet for a big horse and he’s done everything we asked him to do and more, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed, that he can do that on Saturday.”

Derby favorite Auguste Rodin – an impressive winner of a Group 2 at Irish Champions Weekend – leads the competition while his trainer Aidan O’Brien is also saddled Salt Lake City, an easy winner this month at Navan.

Alan Crowhurst (Getty Images)

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Auguste Rodin (left): an impressive winner last time out at Leopardstown

Auguste Rodin (left): an impressive winner last time out at Leopardstown

Alan Crowhurst (Getty Images)

O’Brien won last year’s race with Irish Champion Stakes hero Luxemburg, making him the most successful coach in the history of the race with Sir Henry Cecil with ten wins.

Representing John and Thady Gosden is second favorite Epictetus, ridden by Frankie Dettori, who finished second in the Autumn Stakes at Newmarket last time out.

However, the Gosdens will not saddle up leading contender Arrest, who instead heads to France for the Criterium de Saint-Cloud.

Shock Chesham Stakes hero Holloway Boy, who finished third in the Autumn Stakes last time out, takes his place, while Haynes, Hanson & Clark Conditions Stakes winner Stormbuster fills in for Andrew Balding and owner Jeff Smith.

Runners and Riders of the Vertem Futurity Trophy

August Rodin Ryan Moore
Captain Wierzba Rob Hornby
Dancing magic Jim Crowley
Epictetus Frankie Dettori
Holloway boy Danny Tudhope
king of steel Adam Kirby
Salt Lake City Wayne Lordan
Stormbreaker David Probert

Pedigree Punting: Vertem Futurity Trophy Judgment and 1-2 Prediction

1 Auguste Rodin
2 Epictetus

Auguste Rodin comes from last season’s stellar Deep Impact and is promoted to Group 1 after a narrow win at the Champions Juvenile Stakes in Leopardstown.

He is the first foal out of the top-class Rhododendron, winner of the Lockinge Stakes, Prix de l’Opera and the Fillies’ Mile in his own time with Aidan O’Brien, whilst also being a notable second to the great Enable in the Oaks. Her son looks middle-distance for 2023 and needs to be respected in a race his trainer has won three times in the last five years.
Kitty Trice, Bloodstock reporter for the Racing Post

This content was first published in Kitty Trice’s Pedigree Punting column in Wednesday’s Racing Post Weekender. Read more each week from Kitty and Weekender’s key contributors like leading tipsters Tom Segal and Paul Kealy and exclusive columnist Ed Walker.

Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes (3.35 Doncaster, Saturday)

bet365: 5-6 Auguste Rodin, 7-2 Epictetus, 7 Stormbuster, Holloway Boy, 16 Salt Lake City, 20 King Of Steel, 33 Dancing Magic, 50 Captain Wierzba

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