SUPPLEMENTARY entry Magna Grecia is among eight possibles from the Aidan O’Brien stable for the Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster on Saturday – the final Group One race of the 2018 domestic season.
Magna Grecia looked a colt brimming with promise when he was just touched off by Persian King in the Autumn Stakes at Newmarket earlier this month after making a winning debut at Naas at the end of September.
O’Brien, who has won the two-year-old Group One over a mile eight times, has a powerful contingent that includes Japan, winner of the Beresford Stakes in Ireland.
Completing his team are Jean-Luc Lagardere runner-up Broome, Cape Of Good Hope, Circus Maximus, Zetland Stakes scorer Norway, Sydney Opera House and Western Australia.
A race for future stars, it was fought out last year between O’Brien’s Saxon Warrior, a subsequent 2000 Guineas winner, and Roaring Lion who has won four Group One prizes this year under Oisin Murphy.
There was a second supplementary entry yesterday in the Ralph Beckett-trained Stormwave, who made a winning debut at Salisbury.
Charlie Hills has put in Phoenix Of Spain who was second to Dewhurst winner Too Darn Hot in the Champagne Stakes on St Leger day at Doncaster.
Two trainers are double-handed – John Gosden with Kick On and Turgenev and Andrew Balding through Dashing Willoughby and Fox Tal – while Karl Burke’s Kadar is the sole Yorkshire-trained contender.
Luca Cumani, meanwhile, has announced he will bring his illustrious training career to an end later this year.
The legendary trainer, 69, has decided to call it a day after 43 years at Bedford House Stables in Newmarket.
Influential in the early success of jockey Frankie Dettori, his fellow Italian, Cumani’s countless big-race winners include two Epsom Derby heroes in Kahyasi (1988) and High-Rise (1998). He also landed the 1984 St Leger with the Lester Piggott-ridden Commanche Run.
“I’ve come to realise the time is right,” he said. “I’ve been very lucky and privileged to have won big races all around the world and I no longer have the material to do so.
“I’ve been to Churchill Downs and Melbourne, and now we’re having more runners at Wolverhampton and Chelmsford and it’s not quite the same. I’m very lucky that I’ve been able to offer myself another job at our stud (Fittocks Stud), which is my second love after training.”
With his son Matt training in Australia and his daughter, Francesca, a regular presenter on ITV Racing, Cumani confirmed Bedford House will be sold.
Sue Smith’s I Just Know, second over hurdles at Wetherby last week, is due to continue his Grand National build up at Kelso on Saturday. He’s entered in a three-and-a-quarter-mile chase at the Scottish track.
Jonathan Burke continues to excel at the start of the National Hunt season. His win at Plumpton on the Charlie Longsdon-trained Vivas was his 21st of the campaign – six more than in 2017-18.
Another name to watch is Gavin Sheehan. A jockey who came to the fore thanks to Wetherby – and Cheltenham Festival – winner Cole Harden, he’s now riding for leading owners Andrew and Kate Brooks with Itchy Feet’s win at Kempton at the weekend their latest success.