Mike Cattermole: Make it Idaho
I have tried, believe me. But it really is just about impossible to overlook Idaho in the Ladbrokes St Leger in his bid to give Aidan O'Brien his fifth win the final Classic of the season.
Idaho (r) is hard to oppose in the St Leger
From two excellent placed efforts behind Harzand in the Derby and Irish Derby, he was ridden with supreme confidence to take the Great Voltigeur, powering past Housesofparliament and winning most decisively.
Now, however, there is the extra two and a half furlongs to tackle which is not a given, but he is a full brother to the King George hero Highland Reel and he hit the line strongly at York.
You need more than just stamina to win the Leger and Idaho's class should see him through here and he is expected to be delivered late by Seamie Heffernan in a race that is sure to be run at a good pace.
There is talk of a deluge tonight which could change the ground – and put the emphasis more on stamina of course – but Idaho is versatile on that front; remember, he also chased home Harzand in the Ballysax Stakes on heavy ground at Leopardstown back in April and both Derbies were run on ground with ease in it.
Housesofparliament stays extremely well and had won the Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket over 13 furlongs before his defeat at York. Harbour Law, who was two lengths behind him there, had gone down by just three quarters of a length to the front-running Sword Fighter in the Queens Vase over two miles at Royal Ascot, so there may not be much between the O'Brien "back-up" duo.
John Gosden knows what it takes to win this, with four wins on his CV, and Muntahaa is poised to run well.
He seems to be crying out for this trip, as shown by his staying-on third in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot (Housesofparliament fourth) and especially when making all and winning a competitive handicap off a mark of 108 at Chester (First Mohican fourth there, ran well on Friday).
Quicken he can't, stay he can and you could see Muntahaa developing into a Cup horse next year. If the ground deteriorates significantly, his stamina will kick in and his dam's sire was the mud-loving Linamix.
The card kicks off with the At The Races Champagne Stakes and Thunder Snow boasts the best form on offer after his second to War Decree in the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood.
Majeste is a nice colt but the form of his maiden win at Newbury is questionable and Rivet took a well-contested maiden at York and remains one with potential and has a host of big-race entries. William Haggas is on fire right now.
However, Saeed Bin Suroor's team is also in rude health – at last – and Thunder Snow sets a fair level here.
Trainer George Baker landed a big pot in Turkey last weekend and his duo, Humidor and Harry Hurricane, look poised to run big races in the ever-competitive Ladbrokes Portland Handicap.
Harry Hurricane was second to Steps in this race 12 months ago and is only 2lb higher now, although he is hard to win with. Humidor, however, has been a prolific winner at both 5f and 6f, which is what you need for this in-between trip.
The veteran started the season off in Group company but has had his sights lowered a bit lately and he has found his level again, posting two great runs at Goodwood and Epsom. The forecast rain should not bother him as he acts on any ground and he is a bit of value at 16-1 with SkyBet.
Soie d'Leau is another that should be suited by the trip on recent evidence and he scored in soft ground at Haydock last week so the rain could help him, too.
Judicial is a likeable type who probably has some improvement in him but we don't know yet whether he will be suited by an easy surface.
Finally, Highland Acclaim was fifth last year off a 7lb higher mark but he was most disappointing here on Thursday.
Richard Pankhurst has not been easy to train but he is making up for lost time now and could be the one to beat in a tricky-looking Saint Gobain Weber Park Stakes, that after arguably a career-best when landing the Hungerford Stakes at Newbury last time.
A 3lb penalty won't make his job easy but he might just be up to it. If the rains come, it will play to Breton Rock's strengths. He beat the frustrating Adaay in awful weather in the Criterion Stakes.
However, Adaay who has worn cheekpieces the last twice, now gets a pair of blinkers and that could make a huge difference. This is very much a race to watch.
2.00 THUNDER SNOW, 2.35 HUMIDOR, 3.10 RICHARD PANKHURST, 3.45 IDAHO, 4.20 MOUNT MORIAH, 4.50 BANKSEA, 5.25 RENFREW STREET, 6.00 GOLD TRAIL
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