Patrick Owens was delighted with Oddyssey once again as the colt outperformed his odds behind potential superstar City Of Troy in the bet365 Superlative Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday.
The two-year-old ran a massive race at Royal Ascot in June, starting as the rank outsider at 125-1 in the Chesham Stakes and coming home in third place, beaten only three-quarters of a length.
He was not quite so overlooked when lining up in the Superlative Stakes at the weekend, a marked step up to Group Two level, but the chestnut was still a 33-1 chance on the July course.
Aidan O’Brien’s City Of Troy was the 4-6 favourite and produced a tremendous performance to win by six and a half lengths, with Richard Hannon’s Haatem the runner-up and Oddyssey a gallant third behind him under Neil Callan.
“It was another big run and I was very proud of him,” Owens said.
“I had big concerns about the ground, I walked it at nine o’clock on Friday night and I was walking it at nine o’clock again on Saturday morning.
“It was holding ground, the horses were coming back with mud on their hooves which indicated it was pretty tiring. It was 40 lengths from first to last, my big concern was how he would handle it but he handled it great.
“He finished really strongly and the fact he handled the ground might make things a little easier for us moving forwards.
“Neil’s experience really came into play when he got him on the rail and that really helped him when he hit the rising ground.
“The winner is a phenomenal horse, he’s going to be an unbelievable horse in the future.”
Owens has not set his sights on a specific race for his colt’s next outing yet, but a step up in trip looks inevitable eventually as his Newmarket performance suggested he will happily run over further.
“Our horse finished in a real strong gallop and he was doing his best work at the end which indicates that we can now go and step up in trip,” he said.
“As far as the ground is concerned we know he can handle easier ground and good to firm, we’ll definitely have a look at stepping up in trip.
“I don’t have any immediate plans, he’s in good form and we’ll give him the rest of the week off.
“We don’t have a set race in mind, we’ll see how he is when he comes back into ridden exercise and go from there.
“We have the option of either going to break his maiden or keeping him in black-type races.”
The post-Chesham form has looked promising since the Royal meeting, with Tom Dascombe’s fifth-placed Hot Fuss going on to win a Salisbury novice by five and a half lengths, Joseph O’Brien’s Warnie (ninth) winning a Bellewstown contest and Kevin Philippart De Foy’s May May (12th) finishing third in a Listed contest at Deauville.
Owens said: “The Chesham could prove to be a very strong race, the winner is a very nice horse and there have been a couple of winners behind him that have come out since.
“The race at the weekend, I think Mr O’Brien’s horse is unbelievable and the second horse is very good, so the race is rock solid.
“It was a massive step up but the Chesham form is working out and I think it will prove to be a very good race when we look back at it down the line.”
That evolving form and the physical progression of the horse gives Owens plenty of reasons to be optimistic as he looks to the remainder of the season and further forward to next year.
“I was looking at him today in the stable and I know he only ran on Saturday, but he actually looks like he has strengthened up a little bit in front of his withers and at the bottom of his neck,” he said.
“If we do the right thing we’ve got a really nice horse to look forward to for the second half of the season and next year.
“What I’m really happy about is how he is mentally, he’s had two big occasions to deal with as a young horse and he was pretty professional both times.
“He went down like a star on Saturday, he stood in the gate while there were some issues with other horses and he took it all really well – it all bodes well for the future.
“I don’t want to wish my life away, but I can’t wait for what the rest of the season brings and for 2024. Please God he trains on!
“We won’t know until he steps foot on a racecourse but if he does step up mentally and physically he could be a really, really exciting horse for me and my team.”