Idaho Could Build Off Breakout Performance at Ascot
Source: Turftalk360 via Twitter
Idaho made his first major statement of his flat career by winning the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot. The Irish horse delivered a fine performance to notch only the third win of his career, beating defending champion Dartmouth in the process.
Aidan O’Brien’s charge will now return to the racecourse to take on another talented field in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. He will face the daunting task of unseating another champion from the winners’ circle, with Highland Reel making his return to the race where he triumphed last season.
However, Idaho’s performance at the racecourse last time out has given bookies confidence that he should be able to challenge the established runners in the race, with odds as low 9/2. His form makes him a prime candidate for a punt with the sample of bookmakers provided by freebets.uk, with the Irish horse considered one of the leading contenders to take the crown at Ascot.
Highland Reel remains the outstanding candidate with almost odds-on predictions from the majority of bookmakers, but considering the option of a free bet, Idaho is well worth the shout. O’Brien’s charge began his career at the European Breeders Fund Maiden in Curragh two years ago, stunning the rest of the field with an outstanding ride to beat the favourite Munaashid and Theodorico by three-and-a-half lengths.
He failed to build on his momentum in his next outing, however, finishing fourth on his first trip overseas at the Criterium De Saint-cloud Group 1 Stakes. On his return to Irish shores, the bay colt lacked the pace to beat out race favourite Harzand in the Ballysax Stakes.
The Irish horse would get the better of O’Brien’s charge twice more in the year, preventing him from making a substantial breakthrough. Harzand dominated the field at the Epsom Downs in The Derby, winning by a comfortable margin, with Idaho settling for third place.
The bay colt improved the level of his display at the Irish Derby in Curragh, but even that was not enough to beat out his rival, losing by half-a-length.
However, Idaho ended his five-race victory drought at York with a fine run to win the Great Voltigeur Stakes, delivering on expectations after being considered the favourite for the title.
His form was to suddenly dip after unseating jockey Seamie Hefferan at the St Leger Stakes, while he put in poor outings at the Canadian International Stakes at the end of 2016 and the beginning of the current term at the Coronation Cup against Highland Reel, finishing well off the pace of the victor.
Although he was considered one of the challengers for the title at his next race at Royal Ascot, O’Brien and Heffernan would have been concerned about his form heading into the meet.
Idaho pulled off the performance of his career to defeat Dartmouth along with the rest of a talented field, finishing half-a-length ahead of his nearest challenger Barsanti to snatch the crown due to a strong effort down the stretch.
The four-year-old faces an incredibly tough task to defeat Highland Reel among the rest of the field at Ascot, with the Irish horse fresh off his victory in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes last month. However, his last win may have opened the floodgates for Idaho to be renowned as one of the dominant horses of the 2017 flat season.