Ocean Park (NZ) and Glen Boss were efficient in winning the $400,000, Group 1, WFA Cathay Pacific Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on Saturday and the Gary Hennessy trained Thorn Park four-year-old will progress onward to the weight-for-age championship Group 1 Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m).
Ocean Park and Glen Boss keep the challengers at bay in the Caulfield Stakes, picture quentinjlang.com
The small field of six left the barriers at a leisurely pace which did not change through to the 600m. Midas Touch and Hugh Bowman led with Sabrage and Kerrin McEvoy next followed by Sanagas and Brad Rawiller with the favourite Ocean Park and Boss in fourth running one out. Sincero and Michael Rodd tracked Ocean Park’s every move.
Boss made his move with 400m to run and Sincero followed as they turned for the home straight. Ocean Park went to the lead with ease but Sincero was not going away and then Alcopop and Dom Tourneur chased hard outside Sincero.
With 125m to run Sincero looked likely to reach the flank of Ocean Park, but Boss had sensed the danger and he asked Ocean Park for more. The entire lengthened and he drew out sufficiently well to put the two challengers away with the margin at the line 3/4L.
Alcopop (Jeune) had the better of Sincero (Umatilla) at the line, the margin a nose. Midas Touch was fourth, Sabrage fifth and Sanagas sixth.
The time was 2.04.70 on the upgraded Good 3 track with the final 600m in 34.78. Ocean Parl paid $1.50.
“We were really pleased with that,” said Hennessy.
“Bossy didn’t want to give him a hard run and he has only had two gallops coming into this. That’s the race we’re looking for and we didn’t want a gut-buster today.”
“We’ll take him along quietly next week and he’ll probably need another gallop to tick him over,” he said.
Hennessy said that he would not worry about the others in the Cox Plate preferring to concentrate on his own ‘game’.
“He has had to step up as a four-year-old and he has done it in a Group 1 at 1400m, 1800m and 2000m,” he said, “He has done it on his birthday.”
“That’s a race he really needed today,” said Boss.
“He’s thrived and actually put on weight since that last run and today’s run was one that he really needed to clean him out.”
“I’m glad he had a contest today because he really needed it.”
“The best thing about him today was his attitude because he put himself in a good spot very easily and in the run I couldn’t believe how relaxed he became.”
“For a horse who hasn’t had a lot of racing, he has got a very sensible way in the race and he does exactly what you want.”
“As soon as I asked him to come off the bridle he got interested in the race and was very good.”
“When he got clear he switched off but that is probably because he might have just needed the run,” he said.
Boss said he was sure that Ocean Park had the ability for the difficult pressure of the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley on October 27th.
“He has got the ability to put himself anywhere in the race so I’m not concerned about pressure. The jockey is not concerned about pressure and I don’t think the horse is and Gary is not going to be too worried about pressure,” he said.
“I think he is the right horse. He has got weight-for-age from, he’s got the ability to come off the bridle and then come back on it pretty quickly.”
“I’m not underestimating the job he’s got ahead of him but at the moment I wouldn’t swap because I really love this horse,” he said.
Ocean Park (NZ) and Glen Boss moments before saluting the win, picture Sportpix.com.au
Ocean Park is out of the Zabeel mare Sayyida and this was his third Group 1 victory in succession after winning the Makfi Challenge over 1400m at Hastings on September 1st and the Underwood Stakes over 18700m at Caulfield on September 22nd.
Co-owned by Matamata based Hennessy and A Wong and S Yan he now has the excellent record of six wins from10 ten starts and three second placings. Stakes earnings are $750,126.