Odyssey Moon Ready for New Zealand Group 1 Assignment

Trainer Robert Smerdon has revealed that Odyssey Moon is a picture of health after arriving in New Zealand ahead of his run in Saturday’s Group 1 Telegraph Handicap (1200m) at Trentham.

Odyssey Moon will take his place in Saturday's Group 1 Telegraph at Trentham. Photo: Steve Hart

Odyssey Moon will take his place in Saturday’s Group 1 Telegraph at Trentham. Photo: Steve Hart

Odyssey Moon returned to racing with a lacklustre performance in the Fiesta Star Handicap (1100m) at Flemington on December 17th in which he failed to beat a single runner home, but responded in the best way possible with a dominant start-to-finish win in the Group 3 Standish Handicap (1200m) on New Year’s Day.

A four-year-old entire by prominent sire Snitzel, Smerdon and Odyssey Moon’s connections cited an opportunity at a maiden win at the highest level was enough for the horse to travel abroad and take his place in the 2017 Telegraph Stakes field.

“We were really happy with him here,” Smerdon told Racing Victoria.

“He had a gallop at Sandown last Wednesday morning on the course proper, and got on the plane about 10 o’clock Wednesday night.

“It was a really good trip. It was about 10 hours door-to-door, which is good time. He was in New Zealand 8am Australian time.

“He went to Cambridge, and reports are he hasn’t missed a beat. He’ll have a gallop at Cambridge tomorrow (Tuesday), and then they float from there to Wellington on Friday, it’s about eight hours down there.

“A bit of travelling, but he hasn’t missed a beat and all feedback has been positive.

“I had him entered in the New Year’s Day sprint, but we stayed here and ran in the Standish. Having won that, James (Harron) thought, ‘It’s a Group 1 race, he’s an entire by Snitzel’, if he can win a race like that, it’s a big tick on his CV.

“There could be stud masters anywhere watching him, but mainly in New Zealand, I guess.”

Odyssey Moon began his racing career under the guidance of Rod Northam in late 2014 and was transferred to Smerdon’s care prior to his 2016 campaign.

Group 1 placed having finished in a dead-heat for second in the 2015 edition of the ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) with Rageese, Odyssey Moon has posted four wins and a further eight minors through twenty-one career starts.

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Jared Timms

Jared graduated with a journalism degree in 2011. He is a keen sports fan and has enjoyed many accolades for his lively writing style and comprehensive coverage of major sporting events and horse racing. Today, you can find Jared cheering on his beloved Manchester City with a beer in hand.