Budapest Bullet fired a blank

Overdose - didn't live up to his billing

Overdose - didn't live up to his billing

Royal Ascot attracts runners from all over the world, as we have seen once again this week. Whilst visitors from America, South Africa and Australia are permanent fixtures, with sometimes the same horses coming back, as far as I can establish, only one horse from Hungary has competed at the meeting.

Four years ago, a horse called Overdose spent a summer in England, based at Amanda Perrett’s Coombelands Stables at Pulborough. The plan was to take in four Group 1 sprints, although in the event, Overdose only tackled two of them. Perrett had a head groom, Ladislav Kubista, who fixed up the deal, and no doubt it was his connection to Hungary that sealed things, as there were plenty of other stables keen to host a horse known as The Budapest Bullet.

Kubista was confident Overdose was a horse fit to take on the cream of Britain’s sprinters, and said on his arrival, “Overdose is good enough to win all his Group races this season with the help of the fantastic facilities at Coombelands. The connections were impressed. It is one of the best stables in the country, with all the facilities he needs including lots of grass gallops. They felt the fact it is nice and quiet would help him. If he had gone to Newmarket I don’t know if he could have coped with travelling through the town’s road traffic.”

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Perrett welcomed the opportunity for a star in her yard. She said, “Hopefully Overdose’s connections feel they are getting the best facilities for their horse. It doesn’t get much better than having the best sprinter in the world in your yard.”

Kubista also knew the trainer Sandor Ribarzki, who had sent out Overdose to be unbeaten in 12 races. He had scored Group victories in Italy and Germany in 2008 and finished first in the Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamps later that year before a re-run was ordered following a false start. Overdose was withdrawn for the re-run. He had prepared for an English campaign with an eight length win in the Hungarian Grand Prix, run over five furlongs at the start of the season.

The plan was for Overdose to run in the Temple Stakes at Haydock, the King’s Stand Stakes and Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Darley July Cup at Newmarket, with French jockey Christophe Soumillon on board. In the event, he only contested the first two of these, ridden on both occasions by Austrian jockey Andreas Suborics.

He didn’t quite live up to his reputation either, finishing seventh in the Temple Stakes (behind Sole Power, winner of this year’s Kings Stand Stakes) and fourth behind Prohibit at Ascot. He didn’t, then, prove to be the best sprinter in Europe. But for a horse described as “ugly” by his owner Zoltan Mikoczy when he was bought for just £2,100 at the Newmarket sales by Mikoczy in 2006 “for a bit of fun”, it was quite a homecoming.

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