Published 18 July
IDAHO appeals as the best-value alternative to stablemate and hot favourite Highland Reel in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
Aidan O’Brien’s colt looks the type to go on improving as a 4yo, having taken a big step forward from his seasonal debut (shaped as though in need of run in Coronation Cup) by landing the Hardwicke over course and distance at the royal meeting.
Placed in both the Derby and Irish equivalent last year before winning the Great Voltigeur, the Ascot run was arguably his best performance to date and provides a solid platform for a Group 1 campaign for the rest of the season.
Idaho did easily best of those racing up with the pace that day, runner-up Barsanti and third-placed Chemical Charge picking up the pieces late on after better-fancied trio Dartmouth, Wings Of Desire and Dai Harraild backed out.
As a full-brother to Highland Reel, he can be expected to keep progressing with experience and Coolmore will be keen to get a top-level victory into him to boost his stallion value.
His year-older sibling is clearly the one they all have to beat, having added the Breeders Cup Turf, Coronation and Prince Of Wales’s to his haul since winning this event 12 months ago.
Highland Reel ought to confirm last month’s Ascot form with subsequent Eclipse winner Ulysses, who has yet to score in this grade over 1m4f and would be going into the race with less recovery time, having had to battle hard to hold off the renewed challenge of Barney Roy at Sandown.
On a similar theme, it’s no great surprise to learn that Enable is likely to miss Ascot in favour of York following her Irish Oaks victory at the weekend.
That leaves Jack Hobbs as John Gosden’s most serious contender (last year’s runner-up Wings Of Desire went backwards at Newmarket last week) but he probably needs softer ground if he’s to bounce back from a poor Prince Of Wales’s run.
Recommended Bet (scale 1-5 points):
King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Ascot 29 July
1pt each way IDAHO ( 8-1 Betbright, 7-1 William Hill, 6-1 general)
Gary provides regular ante-post updates on Twitter. His username is @horsetraderinfo.@horsetraderinfo