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Alfs Odyssey gets his chance

by Ken Casellas

Promising four-year-old Alfs Odyssey has won four times at Bunbury and once at Pinjarra, but has managed just one placing from eight city starts. He has resumed after a seven-month absence in fine style and gets an excellent chance of breaking through for his first metropolitan success when he contests the third heat of the Alltools Westbred Pace at Gloucester park on Friday night.

Trained at Bunbury by John Graham, Alfs Odyssey will be driven by Morgan Woodley from the No. 6 barrier in the 2130m event.

His three runs as a four-year-old have resulted in two all-the-way wins at Bunbury and a sixth behind Hindu Kumara at Bunbury when he was hampered by a flat tyre and raced three wide for much of the race.

“Both times in this preparation that he has led, he’s done well,” said Graham. “Morgan will probably go forward to see if he can grab the front.”

At his most recent outing Alfs Odyssey led from barrier four and rated 1.57.6 over 2100m when he beat Dontch Remember by five lengths at Bunbury last Saturday week.

Alfs Odyssey has always revealed a touch of class. As a two-year-old in mid-2015 he finished third to Rich Yankee in the group 1 Pearl Classic and fourth behind Sprinter, Dodolicious and Sheer Rocknroll in the group 1 Golden Slipper (beating home Ideal Tyson and Franco Rayner). And at his final start last season he finished fourth behind New World Order in the group 1 $100,000 Westbred Classic.

After his final run as a three-year-old he sustained a quarter crack in a hoof, which delayed his campaign as a four-year-old. He has fully recovered from the injury.

Alfs Odyssey was bred and is owned by Reg Smallacombe. He is by American stallion Dawn Of A New Day and is the first foal out of unraced Artesian mare Dee Jay Dana, who was also bred by Smallacombe, who was enjoying a holiday on a cruise around the Greek Islands in September 2012 when Alfs Odyssey was born. Smallacombe named the foal after a friend of his who had died not long before that.

Alfs Odyssey certainly won’t have things all his own way on Friday night when he will clash with a handful of good pacers, including El Hombre, Debt Free Charlie, The Kings Assassin and Straittothebar.

The Ross Olivieri-trained El Hombre was desperately unlucky when fourth behind Foxy Dame last Friday week when he suffered interference and was forced to work hard without cover. He was a smart winner at Pinjarra three starts before that.

Debt Free Charlie, trained at Kellerberrin by Peter Arthur, was most impressive last Friday week when he began fast from barrier five and sped to the front after 550m. He sizzled early in the 1730m event and his opening 400m section of 26.4sec. in the final mile was a record for a first quarter in a race at Gloucester Park. This lowered the previous best of 26.8sec. recorded by Prince Aradan in a 1700m event for three-year-olds in February 2002.

Debt Free Charlie set a brisk pace after the flying first quarter and won at a 1.55.3 rate from Fifth Edition. Kyle Harper will drive him again, from barrier eight on Friday night.

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