Odeon has stamped his South Australian Derby credentials with a strong win against older horses at Caulfield.
The Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra-trained three-year-old was sent out the $4.80 favourite in Saturday’s Sky High Mt Dandenong Handicap (2000m), a race the stable was using as a stepping stone to the Group One South Australian Derby in two weeks.
The gelding didn’t disappoint, confirming those plans with a 1-1/4 length win over the Chris Waller-trained Hursley with another 2-3/4 lengths to Overberg third.
Since being gelded after the spring, Odeon has won three of his four starts campaign with his only defeat coming in the Port Adelaide Guineas on April 8.
His jockey that day, Jamie Mott, lodged an unsuccessful protest after the narrow defeat.
The Flemington trainers decided Odeon’s best Derby lead-up was to remain home in Melbourne to run on Saturday rather than another interstate trip to South Australia for the Chairman’s Stakes (2030m).
“We resisted the temptation to go back to Adelaide today and raced on our home deck. Hopefully he’s cherry ripe in a fortnight,” Ellerton said.
“He raced well in the spring as a rowdy boy. And his form has been impeccable as a gelding. It has done the trick, that’s for sure.”
Odeon settled midfield before chiming in on the outside rounding the home turn.
He hit the front passing the 200m and drew clear of Hursley late.
Ellerton believes Odeon will handle the 2500m of the Derby at Morphettville.
“He ran through the line pretty well there and he’s a natural athlete,” Ellerton said.
Odeon didn’t get Mott’s weight on Saturday with Katelyn Mallyon picking up the ride.