Fresh off advising Royal Ascot winners Profitable and Order Of St George, Tony Keenan is back with an alternative to the big two in Saturday's Irish Derby...
"The sectionals suggest Idaho was the one least suited by the run of the race at Epsom, racing closest to an overly-strong pace of those involved at the finish, and it is to his credit that he was beaten less than three lengths in the end."
Please note: This was published at 10:50, before markets were suspended in the run-up to US Army Ranger's withdrawal. Prices correct at time of publication
The Epsom and Curragh Derbies sit closer together this year than is typically the case, just 21 days between the two races, but even so it is hard to consider any other form line going into Saturday's race; in fact the betting is 34.033/1 bar those that didn't run at Epsom last time.
The English Derby looked competitive rather than classy beforehand but post-race analysis suggests it was a good renewal; the pace, particularly early, was strong and the first three pulled well clear with the Dante winner in fourth and no real trouble in behind bar Red Verdon getting trapped up the rail which likely cost him fourth at best.
Harzand has to be your starting point for the Irish Derby and he is one that would be well-suited by rain in the coming days; the concern with him are the vibes emerging from the Weld yard with his trainer saying that Epsom 'left a mark' and that the race is coming 'a week sooner' than he'd like. Part of me says that ignoring these comments is the way to go as it is creating a value price about the horse with the best form but Weld is not known for misleading punters and his comments are worth trusting.
The obvious alternative is US Army Ranger and punters backing him will be playing the man rather than the horse; Aidan O'Brien has been fulsome in his praise for the Ranger and his big worry going into Epsom was lack of experience. That found him out to a degree and he certainly could have done with getting running room earlier in the straight but the sectional times suggest the race was run to suit him perfectly and he still couldn't win; Ryan Moore was criticised for his ride at the time but he would surely have been aware of the pace Colm O'Donoghue was going to go on Port Douglas and in fact rode an efficient race. Yes, there should be improvement to come but that is already well-factored into his price of 2.01/1.
Idaho looks the value at current odds. The sectionals suggest he was the one least suited by the run of the race at Epsom, racing closest to an overly-strong pace of those involved at the finish, and it is to his credit that he was beaten less than three lengths in the end. There is little between him and Harzand on their Ballysax run in April when the Weld horse had fitness on his side and Idaho's jockey made a premature move, and a more even overall gallop could help him reverse form with both of those that beat him three weeks back.
Minding impossible to oppose in the Pretty Polly
It is slightly disappointing that Minding runs in the Pretty Polly Stakes on Sunday rather than take on the colts in something like the Eclipse but having been with her in this column for both her wins this season, I have no desire to oppose her now, especially as ten furlongs is likely to prove her optimum trip.
Her opposition simply aren't up to Group 1 class at this point - Lucida was last year but has yet to find her form in 2016 - and her biggest danger will be that the Oaks win took the edge of her but she is one that takes her racing well.
Koora seems the most likely to chase her home. Her second in the Middleton suggested she had improved over the winter and she could have done with the getting a run sooner too. That form has worked out and an ease in the ground will suit but she would still need to find 10lbs improvement to beat Minding.
Back Idaho @ 6.05/1 to win the Irish Derby