A total of 15 horses stood their ground at the latest declaration stage for the Ladbrokes St. Leger Stakes (3.45) at Doncaster on Saturday, but Aidan O’Brien’s Galileo colt Idaho is already odds-on (1.97) on Betfair. Idaho finished second in the Derby and third in the Irish equivalent before forging clear in the closing stages to win the Great Voltigeur Stakes by 1¾ lengths from stable companion Housesofparliament at York last month. He’s entitled to improve for that run, his first since June and appears versatile, ground-wise so, if he stays the extra 2 furlongs and 132 yards on Town Moor, he looks the one to beat.
However, Aidan O’Brien has already voiced his concerns about the St. Leger distance for Idaho and it could be that Housesofparliament – who won Bahrain Trophy, over 1 mile 5 furlongs at Newmarket in taking style on his previous start – appreciates the extra yardage more than his stable companion. Of the other O’Brien entries, Sword Fighter was beaten, but far from disgraced, in the Goodwood Cup, against the older horses when last seen in July and will not fail through lack of stamina, while Red Verdon finished much closer to Idaho at the Curragh than he did at Epsom and is another who should relish the step up in distance, especially on rain-softened ground.
All of a sudden, Idaho may not be the ‘good thing’ he appears and, while he may still win, a lay at 2.0 on Betfair might be the shrewdest play.
Selection: Doncaster 3.45 Lay Idaho (2.0 on Betfair)