Idaho heads market for Canadian International

Alastair Bull

October 11th, 2017

European horses have dominated the Pattinson Canadian International in recent years, and there’s every chance of more of the same in this year’s renewal at Woodbine Oct. 15.

Aidan O’Brien’s Idaho is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in a field of 10 for the $C800,000 race, run over 1 ½-miles on the Woodbine turf.

Idaho is a brother of the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) winner Highland Reel, and though he hasn’t reached that level quite yet, he’s shown plenty of talent. Fifth in this race last year, the 4-year-old has this year won the Hardwicke Stakes (G2) at Royal Ascot, and finished third behind Enable in Britain’s premier 1 ½-mile race for all ages, the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (G1).

His last couple of runs – sixth in the Sword Dancer (G1) and eighth in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) after setting the pace – have been a little below par, however, and he’s backing up just two weeks after the Arc.

Erupt, trained in France by Francis-Henri Graffard when he won the race last year, will defend his title on Sunday, though he is now in the stable of Graham Motion. He finished one place ahead of Idaho in the Sword Dancer and is rated the 7-2 morning-line second favorite.

Also in from Europe is Chemical Charge. Third to Idaho in the Hardwicke, he has since won the September Stakes (G3) on Polytrack at Kempton Park.

The Northern Dancer Turf (G1) is the best Woodbine trial for the race and it went this year to Canadian-trained Johnny Bear, who nosed out the high-quality English horse Hawkbill, who won’t be backing up here. Not far away in third place was Erupt’s stablemate Messi, who was a little late getting clear running.

Four runners from the Kentucky Turf Cup Stakes (G3) at Kentucky Downs Sept. 9 are set to start: Oscar Nominated (first), Postulation (second), Bullards Alley (sixth) and Enterprising (eighth). The top two in particular look to be good chances.

The field is completed by the California-based Flamboyant. He hasn’t won this year but has been in good form and should not be ignored.

With most of the runners coming in with some doubt about their form, the Canadian International isn’t the easiest race to pick. At their best, Erupt and Idaho look the best two horses in the race, but there must be some doubts about their current form. Messi and Johnny Bear should also be strongly considered.