The horse they call the “Hungarian Seabiscuit” will put his unbeaten record on the line in top group I sprints in Europe this summer.
Overdose, also nicknamed the “Budapest Bullet” or “Dozi,” won for the 12th time during his career over five furlongs in a track record time of :54.60 at Hungary’s only racecourse, Kincsem Park, April 20. More than 20,000 turned out, the biggest attendance for years, and an estimated third of the Eastern European country’s 10 million population watched on television.
Bought for only 2,000 guineas (about $3,100) at Tattersalls December sales in Newmarket, England, as a yearling, Overdose has become the talk of Hungary, which is suffering from harsh economic conditions plus political turmoil, and far beyond.
The 4-year-old colt, by Starborough out of the Warning mare Our Poppet, is to start his journey to Britain May 4, and will stay at the Sussex stables of trainer Amanda Perrett so as to be properly prepared for an ambitious European campaign which is due to start May 23 in the betfred.com Temple Stakes (Eng-II) over five furlongs at Haydock Park.
Trained in Hungary by Sandor Ribarszki for owner Zoltan Mikoczy, a steel merchant based in Slovakia, and his partners, Overdoes has already proved successful at between five and seven furlongs in Austria, Germany, Hungary, Italy. and Slovakia.
His biggest success came in a group II event over six furlongs at Baden-Baden in Germany Aug. 31, but he was denied victory in France’s top sprint, the five-furlong Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp (Fr-I) Oct. 5, after he passed the post four lengths clear only for the race to be declared invalid because of a false start and re-run later that day without him.
Overdose was rated the world’s leading 3-year-old sprinter in the World Thoroughbred Rankings of 2008 at 120 pounds, just a pound behind European champion speedster Marchand D’Or.
The colt was raised on Peter Player’s Whatton Manor Stud in Nottinghamshire, England, on behalf of his breeders, Graham and Di Robinson, and was sent to the sale without any high hopes.
Player, a former chairman of the National Stud and Newmarket Racecourses, recalled: "To be perfectly frank, he wasn’t particularly correct in front. What he did have, however, was a big backside on him and he was charming to deal with.
"He has done a wonderful job of advertising the family—we have plenty of his close relatives here on the stud."
Overdose’s current owners say they have turned downs bids of up to $6.5 million for the horse who will challenge for honors at Royal Ascot in June against some of the world’s top sprinters.
"A horse like Overdose comes around once a century,” Mikoczy said. “There hasn’t been a horse like this in this part of Europe since Kincsem." He was referring to the Hungarian horse of the 1870s who was undefeated in 54 races.
Overdose is already favorite with British bookmakers for both the group I sprints at Royal Ascot, the five-furlong King’s Stand Stakes (June 16) and the six-furlong Golden Jubilee Stakes (June 20), and there is talk of him coming to the United States for the Breeders’ Cup if all goes according to plan in Europe.