Odds-on favorite Luxembourg remained unbeaten in Saturday’s Vertem Futurity Trophy (G1) at Doncaster, capturing his second race on the European Road to the Kentucky Derby. Although the Aidan O’Brien pupil heads into the winter as the European points leader, his Derby (G1) aspirations are all about Epsom, not Kentucky. Indeed, he’s already the early favorite for the 2022 Epsom Derby.
Luxembourg was handing O’Brien a record-equaling 10th victory in the Trophy, which has gone by several names since its inception in 1961. The master of Ballydoyle matched the feat of another training legend, the late Sir Henry Cecil.
One of the most celebrated of those past O’Brien winners is Luxembourg’s own sire, Camelot, who pursued a rare English Triple Crown in 2012. Camelot won the first two jewels, the 2000 Guineas (G1) at Newmarket and the Epsom Derby, but sustained a tough loss in the St. Leger (G1).
Luxembourg could try to emulate his sire by contesting the 2000 Guineas next spring on the way to Epsom. If so, he would bring a little more experience to Newmarket than Camelot did. Luxembourg has run three times as a juvenile, romping at Killarney and in the Beresford (G2) before completing the hat trick at Doncaster.
Confidently handled by Ryan Moore, Luxembourg was reserved off the pace set by fellow European Road winner Royal Patronage, who opened the series in the Royal Lodge (G2). Sissoko attended the leader and increased his pressure, but Luxembourg cruised up about halfway down the straight mile. The favorite drove 1 3/4 lengths clear while finishing in 1:43.61, a reflection of the soft going.
Luxembourg doubled his points tally to 20, having earned 10 apiece in the Beresford and Vertem. Sissoko fought valiantly to save second in his stakes debut in a three-way tussle, edging a slightly troubled Bayside Boy and 25-1 shot Hannibal Barca. The respective second through fourth picked up points on the 4-2-1 scale. Imperial Fighter was another half-length back in fifth, followed after a 10-length interval by Mctigue, Bullet Force, and Royal Patronage.
Co-owned by Westerberg and the Coolmore principals (Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith), Luxembourg is a half-brother to Group 2 scorer Leo de Fury. Their dam, the Danehill Dancer mare Attire, is a full sister to Forgotten Voice and a half to Australie, both Group 3 winners.
Luxembourg’s granddam, Asnieres, is by 1985 Kentucky Derby champ Spend a Buck and a half-sister to Arcangues, who shocked the 1993 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). But his family is otherwise all turf, with such maternal relatives as Aquarelliste, Angara, and Cape Verdi, the 1000 Guineas (G1) heroine of 1998.