Idaho is not without claims to make the frame or even win the contest in the most prestigious Flat race in Europe. The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe brings together the best horses from the Classic generation and older runners and on all known form it looks a penalty kick for Enable. However, recent history tells us three-year-old fillies who have not had a break in the summer struggle in the showpiece occasion in France which is run over one mile four furlongs.
Idaho is trained by Aidan O’Brien who was responsible for the first three in last year’s Arc. The trainer is again mob handed but Ryan Moore has chosen to ride Winter. His mount is a female horse aged three so she gets the same age and gender allowances as Enable but is a much bigger price. Moore explained the logic of selecting Winter as his Arc mount in the Racing Post this week:
“Winter is a high-class filly who has won four Group 1s and has won on the soft. None of us know if she’ll stay a mile and half until we try”.
The dual Guineas winner is unproven over the distance of the Arc but her class is there to see. The same thing and more could be said about Enable who has won four races over 12 furlongs at the highest level this season.
The key trial in the context of the Arc in Britain this season is the King George at Ascot in July. Enable was much too good for a high class field of colts but was carrying a full stone less than the male older horses. Enable beat Ulysses by four and a half lengths at Ascot and Idaho was a further quarter of a length adrift.
Ulysses and Idaho are carrying ten pounds more than Enable in the Arc which suggests they could finish four lengths closer than in the King George. That leave Idaho with just over one length to make up on Enable and that is a small margin for error. Enable is the most likely winner but given bad luck in running doesn’t have much to play with on a form line with Idaho.
In Order Of St George and Capri O’Brien has runners who have won some of the major races on the Flat. Sometimes jockeys are not the best judge and maybe Moore has been swayed by the efforts of three-year-old fillies in Group 1 races this season. He may not admit it in public but Moore is probably slightly envious of Frankie Dettori who rides Enable in the Arc, a race he has won four times.
His mount this year is trading at around Even money but Idaho can be backed at 40/1. The favourite is the better horse and the form pick for the Arc but the price is too big to ignore Idaho who should be backed each way with bookmakers who offer one quarter the odds for three places. If Enable fluffs her lines Idaho has the form to take advantage and in any case can make the payout places.