Aidan O’Brien won his 9th Group 1 Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes (formerly The Racing Post Trophy) at Doncaster when his son Donnacha rode Magna Grecia to success on Saturday.
Ballydoyle-trained horses set the pace through Western Australia and Circus Maximus before the 2-1f, under the Irish champion jockey-elect, got up by a head at the line to deny the Charlie Hills-trained Phoenix Of Spain.
Magna Grecia, now being quoted at 16-1 for the 2019 Investec Derby at Epsom, had to survive a Stewards’ Enquiry as there seemed to have been contact between the winner and the runner-up when the O’Brien colt move out from behind his stable companion to make his move.
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Commenting on the winner, who had been beaten by Andre Fabre’s Persian King in the Autumn Stakes on his previous outing, Aidan O’Brien said:
“I’m delighted with him, he’s still a bit babyish but he’s coming forward lovely. We think a mile will be his thing next year. He would have learned a lot today. He had to knuckle down which he did the last day too.”
The winning trainer was doubtful, however, as to whether the two-year-old son of Invincible Spirit would get the Derby trip:
“We thought he might be a miler, but he’s out of Galileo mare which gives him a chance. I always thought if he got a mile we’d be delighted. Maybe he will stay further.”