Regular tipster Tony Calvin is back with his ante-post column. This week he's taken a look at the St Leger on September 10th...
"I am strongly of the opinion that Housesofparliament will relish the extra 2f and 132yd at Doncaster more than Idaho, and it is simply a matter of whether the Irish Derby runner-up has the class to see out the trip sufficiently."
The pitfalls and perils of ante-post punting - indeed, for bookmakers attempting to price up, as well - were again brought into sharp focus when Henry Candy announced on Monday morning that Limato may well run after all in Saturday's Haydock Sprint Cup.
The bookmakers took the Nunthorpe runner-up out of their betting when trainer Henry Candy said last week that he was a doubtful runner for Haydock.
He cited then that the horse needs more time between his races - hopefully the bookies will be settling bets without Limato in the period that he wasn't in their market, if he does run and win - but with a largely dry forecast in the north west this week (apparently), which wouldn't suit stablemate Twilight Son, it appears it is all change.
That is obviously good news for those who kept the faith in Limato all the way out to 55.054/1 on the exchange - though not to the layers doing the chasing out - but the "will they, won't they?" participation of the Candy pair presents everyone with a headache.
So I am inclined to leave the market alone for the moment as they are not the only runners in the race for whom the ground is key.
Limato wasn't the only surprise of the midday declarations too, as Signs Of Blessing, joint-fourth favourite in most lists, was a no-show.
There are loads of other ante-post races on the none-too-distant horizon though, and I am going to take my life into my hands - well, the cash out of my pocket, let's not be over-dramatic - by suggesting a bet on an Aidan O'Brien runner in the St Leger at Doncaster a week on Saturday.
I say that because running plans do tend to change a fair amount for his horses, perhaps not surprisingly given the class balls he has to juggle, and he has the little matter of ten of the 25 entries in the Classic.
Shock horror, my selection is not the 2.1411/10 favourite Idaho. Nor is it Sword Fighter, not disgraced in the slightest against his elders at Goodwood and a horse I rate, but Housesofparliament at 15.014/1 or bigger on the exchange; he is currently trading at 16.015/1 and 14-1 is available in a few places in the market so that's a fair guide price to aim for.
He would appear to have little chance with Idaho on their Voltigeur running, his stablemate beating him an easy 1¾ lengths in the end, but I don't think the York run told the full story.
For starters, I think the O'Brien camp could seriously think about switching Idaho elsewhere given the subsequent defeat of US Army Ranger at the Curragh - and a 1m4f Group 1 prize for this brother to Highland Reel must be the goal - but, even if he lines up, and he is clearly heavy odds-on to do so, I don't think it is a formality that he will confirm the form.
York was the first time that Housesofparliament had been asked to make the running in his career, and he was presumably doing so to help bring dual Derby-placed Idaho into the race.
He did that alright, and some more - he hit 1.330/100 in running on Betfair when looking to have the field on the stretch - and it could have been that his improved run there was in spite of the switch of tactics.
A feature of his earlier 1½-length Bahrain Trophy defeat of impressive Saturday Goodwood winner Platitude was how well he travelled into the race from off the pace, and that win over 1m5f suggested to me that he would progress further when upped in trip. He was well on top at the line and pulling clear.
I am strongly of the opinion that Housesofparliament will relish the extra 2f and 132yd at Doncaster more than Idaho, and it is simply a matter of whether the Irish Derby runner-up has the class to see out the trip sufficiently. He may well have, and he is the clear form pick in the race.
A lot of people will say that Idaho was going away at the line at York and would have won whatever the distance.
That may well be so but the race set up perfectly for him there and the immediate post-race comments from O'Brien suggested at some caution as regards the Leger trip - "I am not sure Idaho would go up much further than 1m6f" - so I'll take my chances with Housesofparliament at the 14-1+, thanks.
Lightning Spear finally came good in the Celebration Mile at Goodwood on Saturday and some bookmakers were asleep on the job afterwards, as one left him at 28-1 for the QEII at Ascot in October, 125957062, and others still went as big as 20-1 and 16-1
I tweeted that the 28-1 wouldn't last long and it didn't - hardly rocket science I know, but there was also some 29.028/1 available on the exchange at the same time, funnily enough - though the boys at the Betfair Sportsbook were on the ball as they immediately went 10-1 and still are bottom-price about the horse.
And it isn't hard to see why, as I think the 14-1 in the marketplace - he is 16.015/1 to back on the exchange in a lightly-priced heat - remains very fair, though I will stop just shy of putting him up as a bet.
Obviously, the likely going at Ascot in mid-October should be concentrating the minds of any punter playing in the market - that is why Ascot will be staging the meeting on the inner, jumps track, to try and seek better, fresh ground - as soft going is a distinct possibility, so a ground-versatile horse is clearly a big plus.
For the record there are currently 40 entries in the race, with a forfeit stage on September 27, and a supplementary stage on October 10, so you many want to wait until then before playing.
However, there is little doubt that Ribchester, a soft-ground Jersey winner and Marois winner last time, and Galileo Gold are the right market leaders at this stage. It is just that I think Lightning Spear shouldn't be a 14-1+ poke.
He wasn't seen to best effect from off the pace when third in the soft in the Queen Anne - which was an excellent effort anyway - or the Sussex Stakes, though a poor Marois run was harder to forgive.
But, back down in class and on faster ground, on Saturday he won in the manner of a horse who is well worth another go in the highest grade. Mind you, he is nought from five in Group 1 company, though he has had only 12 starts for a 5yo and may still be improving.
We know that he is being aimed at the race, has Ascot form, can go on any ground and may still be going forwards. Very fair credentials.
Back Housesofparliament at 15.014/1 or bigger for the Leger on September 10