Monday 23 April 2018

Idaho leads Leger charge at Doncaster for upbeat Aidan O'Brien


Aidan O'Brien could possibly run three horses alongside red-hot favourite Idaho in the Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster.

Placed in the Derby at Epsom and the Irish equivalent, Idaho was a comfortable winner of the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York last time out, and is odds-on for Classic glory at the weekend with the race sponsors.

O'Brien can also call on Royal Ascot and Curragh Cup winner Sword Fighter, Housesofparliament, Kellstorm, The Major General, Triplicate and Unicorn.

A total of 15 were left in at the five-day stage, but Jim Bolger's Twilight Payment is not expected to run.

O'Brien said: "We would definitely run three or four. At the moment, that's what I'm thinking of.

"It's gone well with Idaho and everything has been smooth since York. He is a clean horse and he has come out the race great. We were happy with him going there.

"We were hoping he would have a nice race and come forward, and we've been happy with him since. You can never be confident (getting the trip), but we always thought he would."

John Gosden may have ruled out Dante winner Wings Of Desire but still has a solid contender in Muntahaa, owned by Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum and second-best in the ante-post market.

He said: "I didn't really want to take Idaho on in the Voltigeur. As trainers and jockeys know, races at York can start early on and you don't get an easy race there.

"We went to Chester and when you send young horses to Chester they learn a lot. He has learnt a lot from Chester and he will get the trip, I just don't know if he will get it quick enough. He is a big old Linamix stayer - he doesn't look like a Dansili at all."

Ed Dunlop's Red Verdon has run a series of good races at the highest level this season, most recently when second in the Grand Prix de Paris.

However, Dunlop, speaking at a Leger lunch at The Landmark in London, warned his preparation has been far from straightforward.

He said: "It has been touch and go. He has had one or two health issues, like most of Newmarket, but we are going there at the moment.

"It's not been an ideal preparation, but he is a horse that has very much improved throughout the season. Without the hiccup we would have been very confident about running a huge race."

Richard Hannon's Ventura Storm has been a revelation stepped up in trip for Middleham Park Racing and was an easy winner of a Group Three in France last time out.

Laura Mongan's Harbour Law, second in the Queen's Vase, will be a first Classic runner for his trainer. Mick Channon has booked Graham Lee for Harrison, while Andrew Balding's Ormito and Pat Shanahan's The Tartan Spartan complete the list.

Along with Harry Dunlop's Robin Of Navan, the David Simcock-trained Algometer was a notable absentee.

Press Association

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