Newcastle Racecourse Steps in to Save Abandoned Vertem Futurity Trophy

Newcastle Racecourse

Photo © Bill Henderson (cc-by-sa/2.0)

The heavy rain experienced in October has played havoc with the UK racecard, and the latest to fall foul of the weather was Saturday’s meeting at Doncaster, which was to have been headlined by the Vertem Futurity Trophy.

The annual encounter, which is designed to identify the best two-year-old in British racing, is also the final Group 1 race of the year, and so organisers were understandably desperate to find a rescheduled date in the diary.

Step forward Newcastle Racecourse, who have agreed to host the Vertem Futurity on their all-weather Tapeta track on Friday November 1 2019.

It will be the first time that a Group 1 race has been contested on an all-weather surface in British racing history.

The ARC’s chief executive Martin Cruddace, who operate at both ewcastle and Doncaster, said: “We were obviously very sorry to lose the Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster, but I am delighted we have been able to move so quickly to rearrange the race, at its original prize money levels, to Newcastle on Friday evening.

“All have done a brilliant job working together and with us to rearrange the race so quickly. We hope all racing fans in the north-east will embrace the fixture and come along to enjoy Britain’s first Group 1 to be run on an artificial surface.”

No Rain On This Parade

With many tracks in the Midlands and North of England besieged by rain over the weekend, the only solution was to find an all-weather surface able to host the one-mile showpiece, and Newcastle have obliged to deliver what will surely be a thrilling spectacle on their evening card.

Newcastle Racecourse Overhead

Ariel photo of Newcastle Racecourse (Credit: Google Earth)

It’s not the first time that the Tapeta surface at the North East track has come to the rescue, and it was on this all-weather ground that Enable made her debut three years ago. She’s done pretty well for herself in the interim period….

While the Futurity will now be raced on a different surface, it’s not the first time that Newcastle has hosted the race – Be My Chief winning on the turf track back in 1989 – and it should also be noted that the all-weather layout is a straight one-mile, so there will be no bends to contend with.

The race, which hit the headlines when it was revealed that trainer Aidan O’Brien held eleven of the twelve entries – and five of six declarations, will keep its £200,000 prize fund and see entries re-opened, so connections who fancy a go at the Irish legend on the all-weather surface can still try their luck.

The founder of the race’s title sponsor, Vertem Asset Management, and a keen racing fan himself is John Dance. He said: “The straight mile at Newcastle is a fantastic track, as seen by the quality of young horses that have run here in the last few years, so we cannot wait for Friday and to be associated with a race of the highest quality at our home racecourse.

“Our Tapeta track at Newcastle is world class and I am sure the track will do the famous race proud.”