By Isaac Murphy
Kelly Schweida two-year-old The Odyssey shapes as a major player in Saturday week's $500,000 QTIS Aquis Jewel at the Gold Coast after winning the Emerald Jewel Prelude for colts and geldings at Doomben.
It was The Odyssey's first run back at the races after leading up the field in January's Magic Millions 2YO Classic at the Gold Coast, following a prep which also included a Listed win in the Spirit of Boom Phelan Ready Stakes.
Schweida said he couldn’t have asked for anything more from his colt but was wary that the set-weight conditions and an unproven field made for a soft win.
“He came in really well with the set-weight’s, he’s a Listed winner and was racing against quite a few making their first starts, so I don’t want to get too carried away,” Schweida said.
“I hope he has a little bit up his sleeve for the big one, sometimes they can just ease off after they get a soft win, but hopefully he’ll come on.”
Schweida said everything went according to plan, with the horse answering the question whether he’d run the 1200 metres.
“Jimmy (Orman) walked them early, I think they ran over thirty-six the first 600 and set it up for him nicely,” he said.
“His barrier manners were exceptional, and we can now definitively say he can run the 1200 metres out as well.
“We took the blinkers off today he’d just been over racing with them on and he seemed to settle into a nice rhythm, he’s as ready as he could be for two weeks’ time.”
Jimmy Orman said the colt was on his best behaviour out of the gates finding the top easily, but he was most pleased the way he finished the race.
“I was happy in front he’s got good gate speed and we found the rail after about the first hundred, I didn’t have to dig him he just landed there,” Orman said.
“The only thing that worried me today was 1200 metres, his trial was only ok compared to his last prep so I was a bit concerned.
“The blinkers were something we thought might make that two-length difference for us at the Magic Millions, but it just got him over racing and we took them off today.”