Leading Gauteng owner Lawrence Wernars celebrated his birthday on Saturday as longshot Divine Odyssey, a horse he bred and part owns, bounded home to win the R150 000 Listed Drum Star Handicap to give Avontuur stallion Oratorio a superb feature double on the day.
“Lawrence (Wernars) was saying recently that he doesn’t have runners in a lot of the features. I asked him if he wanted runners or winners,” chirped trainer Johan Janse van Vuuren who saddled the feature double a half hour after the yard’s Mardi Gras had cruised in to win the Gr2 Senor Santa Stakes.
Racing under sufferance off bottom weight of 52kgs, Calvin Habib had Divine Odyssey relaxed in midfield off a muddling pace set by Pilou, who led Dawn Assault, The Dazzler and Cash Time.
At the 500m Divine Odyssey commenced his move as The Dazzler and Pietro Mascagni looked dangerous.
Riding a confidence race, Calvin Habib let the 4yo gelding go at the 250m and he drew clear at 28-1 t beat the consistent The Dazzler by 2 lengths in a time 110.37 secs.
Pietro Mascagni plodded late into third a further length back, with Cash Time rounding off the quartet after having every chance.
The on-off pace would have done the prospects of Hero’s Honour and Noble Secret no favours.
Winning jockey Calvin Habib said that he had been travelling well throughout. “At the 400m I knew we had it. It’s a good win as he has been a handful.”
Trainer Johan Janse van Vuuren, who was on his way to join the Wernars family for a few days of celebrations, confirmed that Divine Odyssey ‘is a bit difficult but has ability’.
“I don’t usually run horses under sufferance. But it worked out and the lack of pace suited us,” he added.
The winner, another son of Oratorio (Danehill) to win on the day, is out of the four-time winning Dynasty mare, Divine Right – who won to a mile.
Bred by Lawrence Wernars, he went through the Cape Premier Yearling Sale ring where the hammer fell at R500 000.
Divine Odyssey has won 4 races with 5 places from 14 starts for stakes of R286 825.