McKenzie Kick-off for 2015 Caulfield Guineas Hope Odyssey Moon

Rodney Northam’s Scone-based colt Odyssey Moon will kick off a Caulfield Guineas 2015 campaign this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival at Moonee Valley Racecourse on Saturday in the McKenzie Stakes.

Odyssey Moon

Odyssey Moon is on track for a first-up McKenzie Stakes run at Moonee Valley this weekend as he track towards the 2015 Caulfield Guineas in October. Photo: Steve Hart.

One of two black-types on the Moonee Valley race card this weekend, the $120,000 Listed Essendon Nissan McKenzie Stakes (1200m) has attracted a bumper 22 three-year-old colts and geldings at nomination stage.

First on the ballot is Northam’s nicely bred son of Snitzel Odyssey Moon who heads towards an elite level run at Caulfield Racecourse on October 10 in the $1 million Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m).

A winner of one of his seven starts to date when impressing in the lucrative $250,000 Inglis Nursery (1000m) last December on debut, Odyssey Moon ran eighth to the Gai Waterhouse-trained Vancouver in the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) last March before an improved second behind Team Snowden’s Pride Of Dubai when stepped up in distance in the Group 1 ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) next time out on April 6.

His autumn campaign ended a fortnight later back at Randwick when Odyssey Moon went out over the mile for the first time, but only managed to run four lengths away sixth behind the Peter Moody-trained filly Pasadena Girl in the Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m).

He has had two trials since leading up to his Melbourne return this weekend including a third behind Hebden over 1045m at Randwick on August 10.

Northam then ran the youngster over 1000m at three-quarter pace on Tuesday morning at the Valley with Damien Oliver  aboard to help bring him on fitness wise for Saturday and give him a look at the track, the horse quickening over the final 400m in a nice piece of work.

“Damien said he handled the track fine and was happy enough with him,” Northam told Racing Victoria.

“He never really works well and you don’t get any indication until you take him to the races which can make you worry but he seems to produce on race day.

“He’s had the two nice trials and fitness isn’t an issue. He pulled up brilliantly this morning so I really don’t need to do much with him this week apart from getting him feeling really well and fresh and ready for the 1200 on Saturday.”

In the latest pre-field Caulfield Guineas betting markets at, Vancouver remains the $4 favourite despite running fourth as the beaten short-priced favourite first-up at Rosehill in last weekend’s Group 3 San Domenico Stakes (1200m).

Odyssey Moon meanwhile is a $51 roughie in the early Caulfield Guineas odds, a price that is set to firm should he win the McKenzie Stakes this weekend and one that could prove way over according to a confident Northam.

“If he’s made a couple of lengths improvement since his two-year-old season then I think he’s right in the mix for the Guineas,” Northam said.

“I was trying to hold him back to 1200m as a two-year-old the Slipper but I think he was probably always more of a 1400m to 1600m horse.

“Physically he’s developed but I think he’s still probably six months away. He’s not the most robust sort of horse but he has improved since he was a two-year-old and mentally he’s probably improved as well.”

The up-and-comer is also nominated for the $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 24, and is even longer in the early odds for the weight-for-age classic paying $151.

After the McKenzie plans are to take Odyssey Moon into the $120,000 Listed Henry Bucks Best Dressed Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on September 12 and then the $175,000 Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) a fortnight later.

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