Leading flat trainer Aidan O'Brien inspecting the ground at Ascot
Leading flat trainer Aidan O'Brien inspecting the ground at Ascot

Aidan O'Brien believes Luxembourg can maintain his impressive progress when he lines up in Saturday's Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster.

O'Brien has won this race nine times previously and will hope to match Sir Henry Cecil's record of 10 victories in what is the final Group 1 race of the 2021 British Flat season.

Luxembourg is set to head the market after picking up two wins from two so far. 

He came out on top on debut at Killarney in July before following up with an impressive victory in the Group 2 Beresford Stakes last month at the Curragh.

So now he gets a crack at Group 1 level and Ballydoyle handler O'Brien believes he will take the step up in his stride.

He said: "Obviously, we were delighted when he won first time up at Killarney. He was very green on debut but he won very nicely and the plan was always to go to the Beresford Stakes with him after that.

"He relaxed and won very nicely, so everything we've asked him to do so far he's done. He travels easily through his races and seems to find things easy. 

"He's a natural, really, but he's a big scopey horse with a lot of quality to look at him."

Aidan O'Brien will look to try equal Sir Henry Cecil's record at Doncaster this weekend
Aidan O'Brien will look to try equal Sir Henry Cecil's record at Doncaster this weekend

Previous winners of this race, like Camelot, Saxon Warrior and Magna Grecia, have gone on to taste glory in the 2000 Guineas the following season.

And O'Brien believes it is an ideal test in which he learns plenty about the future prospects of his horses.

He added: "It's good for an education with a view to next year and you get a good clean picture about whether you can go for the Guineas or not for next year.

"It's a tough race, but they come out of it well, and it's not a slog. They learn a lot and you learn a lot about the horse. 

"It's a good, strong competitive race with horses who have plenty of form and plenty of experience, really."

The Mark Johnston-trained Royal Patronage and Champagne Stakes winner Bayside Boy could pose the biggest threat to Luxembourg, while Imperial Fighter, Sissoko, Mctigue, Hannibal Barca and Bullet Force are the other declared runners for the mile contest.

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