Small field for Group Two Blamey Stakes
Mathew Toogood 3 months ago
A small field will do battle in the Blamey Stakes headed by dual Group One-winning stablemates Tosen Stardom and Humidor.
Saturday's Group Two race at Flemington has attracted only six acceptors after 15 initial nominations were taken.
Victoria's premier trainer Darren Weir trained the quinella in last year's Blamey (1600m) with Palentino defeating Tosen Stardom, and Tosen Stardom ($2.25) was shading Humidor ($2.50) for favouritism for this year's renewal on Wednesday.
Co-trainers Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra will run Odeon and Zahra admits the four-year-old faces a challenge against the Group One winners, getting only 2kg off Tosen Stardom and Humidor.
"It's probably a bit tough with the set weights and penalties but it's a bit of a stepping stone towards probably the Easter Cup," Zahra said.
"In the handicap there would be a fair way between them.
"With the set weights and penalties they probably come in well at the weights. They are probably a step above him at this stage and they're going to be hard to beat, but we'll have a bit of a crack and see how we go."
Odeon finished sixth in the Group Three Shaftesbury Avenue Handicap (1400m) first-up at Flemington on March 3 and steps to 1600m.
Zahra believes Odeon is better suited when he can get rolling and build his momentum as opposed to having to sit and sprint and said his run also probably came to an end 50m out first-up.
"So it was a decent effort," he said.
"He never normally fires first-up and really improves with each run. He's done that, but he's probably going to have to as well."
Odeon, winner of six of his 18 starts, was placed in the Group One South Australian Derby last year while in the spring he was tested at Group One weight-for-age level in the Emirates Stakes (2000m) at Flemington, finishing 2-1/2 lengths from the winner, Tosen Stardom, in eighth.
Zahra said they would see how Odeon's form was after his next couple of starts before deciding on longer term ambitions.
The Blamey field also includes Tasmania's reigning Horse of the Year, Hellova Street while the Lindsay Park stable has Cool Chap engaged.
The Mike Moroney-trained Radipole is a dual acceptor in the Blamey and also the Ajax Stakes in Sydney.