Odeon back to weight-for-age in 2018 Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes

Sep 07, 2018

Caulfield Cup-bound Odeon steps back into the weight-for-age scene in Saturday’s Group 2 Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at The Valley.

Trainers Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra have entered the son of Zacinto in both the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups and the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes shapes as a crucial test for the five-year-old.

Odeon produced a terrific effort when two lengths from the winner off a four-day back-up at weight-for-age in the Emirates Stakes (1400m) last spring before the gelding bumped into the mighty mare Winx at his other run in top company.

Odeon has performed well at both his runs back. He finished third at Flemington, in a race that included Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes favourite Night’s Watch, before a solid fourth on a leader-biased Moonee Valley track last time out.

Zahra knows he and Ellerton have Odeon in fine shape, but the gelding now needs to step up and force his way into the Caulfield Cup field.

“We’ve been a little bit frustrated,” Zahra said. “He has been going really well on the track and his jump outs have been good.

“It’s probably time for him to stand-up a bit at weight-for-age. At this stage he might just be a handicapper, but we’re going to get a good guide (on Saturday).

“He’s been running around in weight-for-age races in his last two campaigns, so he might just not be there at that level, so the next two runs will tell us where he is at, but we can’t be more pleased with the way he is ticking over.

“If he happens to win this then he is in the Caulfield Cup and we can just poke along with him.”

Drawing barrier one with give jockey Damien Thornton plenty of options early in the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes.

The stable has also fared well with the barrier draw for Aristia in the 1Print Handicap (1500m).

Aristia is a maiden but was Group III-placed behind stable star Marcel From Madrid in Adelaide in the autumn. Zahra said Aristia has matured during her break and would improve on her first-up fifth at Sandown on August 22.

“She’s going really well and she’s up to a race like this,” Zahra said.

“She should get every chance from barrier two and we expect her to be running on well at the end.”

Crystal Dreamer has drawn awkwardly for his assignment in the Listed Strathmore Bendigo Bank Stakes (1200m).

The sprinter takes on a smart field but will have to overcome gate 11 in the $120,000 contest.

“He might find it tough but he’s such an honest horse and we know he goes out and gives his best every start,” Zahra said.

“He’ll be trying hard but it’s just a matter of luck in running that will be the key to his chances.”

Good luck to the owners of all the stable’s runners at The Valley and thanks to our great team for getting the horses to the races in such terrific condition yet again.