Horses To Follow » King’s Odyssey

King’s Odyssey

King’s Odyssey put up a really nice performance to land the Timeform Novices’ Handicap Chase at Cheltenham on Saturday.

Always travelling well along the inside and just behind the leaders, his jumping was assured and accurate, and he travelled like the most likely winner from a long way out. He moved up on the inside of leader Waldorf Salad at the top of the hill, matched strides with him in front for a couple of fences, and moved on on the run down the hill as the pair of them moved clear. He was still on the bridle after he hit the front. He moved easily around the home turn as Waldorf Salad tried to rally on his outside, but, in truth, the Venetia Williams horse was always fighting a losing battle. King’s Odyssey jumped the last in front, the usual second last, and he kept on well up the run-in to win by a length and a half from the gallant runner-up in a good time, 0.06secs/furlong faster than Racing Post par.

This was a hugely likeable performance from Evan Williams’ horse. He shaped like a horse who is better than the grade in which he was competing, and he probably won with a fair bit more in hand than the bare winning margin. He progressed with each run last season as a novice hurdler, and he got off the mark on his fourth and final attempt at odds-on at Warwick in March. He had only run twice over fences before Saturday, he broke a blood vessel on the first of them and he won on the second of those runs, over two and a half miles at Wincanton over Christmas, when he beat the talented Southfield Vic into second place. He was raised 9lb for that, he was winning this off a mark of 139, and another 8lb hike is not overly harsh. He is only seven and this was just his eight race under all codes and his third chase, so he has bundles of scope for progression.

He will probably get further in time, he made his debut over fences over three miles, but this extended two and a half miles is a good trip for him for now. He travelled well at two and a half mile pace. He handles this soft ground well, and he will be of interest wherever he goes next.

30th January 2016