Luxembourg is expected to provide Aidan O’Brien with a joint-record 10th victory in the Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster on Saturday.
The Ballydoyle handler has saddled two subsequent Derby winners to land the final Group 1 of the British Flat season in High Chaparral (2001) and Camelot (2011).
Brian Boru struck gold in 2002 before returning to Doncaster to win the St Leger the following season, while Saxon Warrior and Magna Grecia went on to win the 2000 Guineas as three-year-olds.
It is fairly clear then that Luxembourg has plenty to live up to as he puts his unbeaten record on the line on Town Moor, but he has looked a bit special in two starts so far.
A son of the aforementioned Camelot, the 150,000 guineas purchase beat a horse now rated 100 in Tuwaiq on his Killarney debut.
Luxembourg then stepped up in class for last month’s Beresford Stakes at the Curragh – a race O’Brien has farmed over the years – and produced a dominant display that saw him promoted to Derby favouritism.
Royal Patronage, who mowed down subsequent Autumn Stakes winner Coroebus in the Royal Lodge at Newmarket last month, certainly merits respect – but Luxembourg can complete his hat-trick and cement his Classic claims.
Listed honours are up for grabs in the following Virgin Bet Doncaster Stakes, for which the Ralph Beckett-trained Deodar is a fascinating contender.
A typically well-bred product of the late Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farms operation, the gelded son of Bated Breath created a big impression on his racecourse introduction at Newbury last month.
The youngster finished with a flourish to get the better of the well-fancied Witch Hunter, who has subsequently gone close in a Listed event himself.
Deodar lacks the experience of some of his more hardened rivals, but might just be a cut above.
Newbury also stages a classy Flat card, and Siskany catches the eye there in the Virgin Bet St Simon Stakes.
Charlie Appleby’s three-year-old receives weight from his elders on his Pattern class debut in this Group 3.
Siskany was an emphatic handicap winner over this trip at Newmarket two weeks ago, on his first run following a gelding operation, earning an 4kg rise in the ratings which means he is theoretically well-treated.
The jumps season is starting to really step up now, so attention will therefore be split between the codes for many – with Cheltenham staging day two of its first 2021/22 meeting.
Among those of particular interest at the home of the jumps are Samarrive, Tritonic and Sky Pirate – all three out to confirm they remain progressive after productive campaigns last time round.
Samarrive is so far unbeaten in his two career starts, having joined champion trainer Paul Nicholls from France last winter after a win at Angers, and duly doubled his tally with an impressive novice hurdle victory at Kempton in April.
That came on good ground – and although it was officially heavy when he won in France, it is likely forecast decent conditions will suit on his return.
It remains to be seen how easy he will be to place this season, but the NHS Vaccinating Heroes Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle – off a rating of 132 – looks a feasible starting point for the four-year-old against much more experienced but exposed opponents.
Tritonic is on something of a retrieval mission after falling short when only fifth at the top level in the Triumph Hurdle at the Festival.
Trainer Alan King, who is in flying form with runners under both codes, has since stressed that Tritonic was not right on that occasion, though – and having previously impressed in a Grade 2 at Kempton, and run well on the Flat since, he is worth another chance to demonstrate his potential in the Masterson Holdings Hurdle.
Sky Pirate was successful at the Festival, narrowly in the ultra-competitive Grand Annual.
Jonjo O’Neill’s eight-year-old is up another 3.5kg for his trouble but may well still be improving. Returning over course and distance, he can prevail from the top of the weights in the 888Sport Handicap Chase, a race with a good tradition of similar weight-carrying performances. – Press Association
TAB is betting on 5 UK race meetings today. Here are the tips:
DONCASTER: Race 1: 14.00 Sir Maxi, Race 2: 14.30 Spitting Feathers, Race 3: 15.05 Fools Rush In, Race 4: 15.40 Apparate, Race 5: 16.15 LUXEMBOURG (NAP), Race 6: 16.50 Deodar, Race 7: 17.20 Dakota Gold, Race 8: 17.55 Darvel.
NEWBURY: Race 1: 14.25 Kindness, Race 2: 15.00 Hoo Ya Mal, Race 3: 15.35 Siskany, Race 4: 16.10 Eidikos, Race 5: 16.45 Ching Shih, Race 6: 17.15 Nazimova, Race 7: 17.50 True Scarlet, Race 8: 18.25 Lady Isabel.
KELSO: Race 1: 14.34 Edmond Dantes, Race 2: 15.09 Nells Son, Race 3: 15.44 Vintage Glen, Race 4: 16.19 Dingo Dollar, Race 5: 16.54 Spark Of Madness, Race 6: 17.29 Northern Bound, Race 7: 18.04 Ashjan, Race 8: 18.35 Lemon T.
CHELTENHAM: Race 1: 14.45 Samarrive, Race 2: 15.20 Didero Vallis, Race 3: 15.55 Tritonic, Race 4: 16.30 Sky Pirate, Race 5: 17.05 Push The Tempo, Race 6: 17.40 Does He Know, Race 7: 18.15 Ocean Of Mercy.
CHELMSFORD: Race 1: 17.59 Spirit Catcher, Race 2: 18.30 Heers Harry, Race 3: 19.00 Swell Song, Race 4: 19.30 Mark Of Respect, Race 5: 20.00 Igotatext, Race 6: 20.30 Love Poems, Race 7: 21.00 Dubai Vision, Race 8: 21.30 Athers.
DOUBLE: Luxembourg and Deodar (Doncaster, Races 5 and 6).
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