Horses To Follow » Idaho


Idaho put up a really good performance to finish as close as he did in third place in the Epsom Derby, given how close he raced to the fast early pace.

Sharply away, Idaho was quickly into a nice racing rhythm just behind the fast pace that his stable companion Port Douglas set. Fifth and three horses wide as they reached the highest part of the track, he travelled well down around Tattenham Corner for Seamie Heffernan. Fourth as they passed the three-furlong pole, Heffernan moved him towards the outside and asked him to pick up. When he did, the response was positive, the Galileo colt improved to join and pass Cloth Of Stars on the run to the two-furlong marker. No sooner had he hit the front, however, than he was challenged by Harzand, who came from further back in the field. He had surrendered the lead to the ultimate victor by the time they reached the furlong pole, but there was a lot to like about the enthusiastic manner in which he ran all the way to the line. He could easily have wilted as US Army Ranger passed him for the runner-up spot, but he remained close all the way to the winning post, going down by a length and a half and a length and a quarter, with the first three home finishing five lengths clear of the fourth horse Wings Of Desire.

Timeform’s sectional times for the race are revealing, they confirm what your eyes tell you. They tell you that, of the first seven horses home, Idaho went fastest through the first four furlongs of a race in which the early pace was inefficiently fast. Yet his finishing speed, at 109.9% of his overall speed, was third fastest, behind only the winner and the runner-up. That is a high-class effort in a Derby.

Aidan O’Brien’s horse was only beaten a length and a quarter by Harzand in the Ballysax Stakes, and you can easily forgive him his run in the Derrinstown, especially now, as he did not get the run of the race. A full-brother to fast-ground horse Highland Reel, he should do better when he can get back on fast ground, and he will probably do better back on a more conventional track. As such, he could be a lively outsider for the Irish Derby if the ground happened to come up fast. Even away from the Irish Derby, there should be more to come for him, this was a really good run in what may prove to be a hot renewal of the Derby.

4th June 2016