Change of plans for Oceanex ahead of Melbourne Cup

A strong international presence in the Geelong Cup has altered the lead-up run of Melbourne Cup hopeful Oceanex. 

The Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr-trained stayer will instead run in the $500,000 Group 2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m) at The Valley on Saturday. 

Oceanex was third emergency for Saturday’s Group 1 Caulfield Cup, but failed to gain a start, and original thoughts were to run the mare in the $400,000 Listed Geelong Cup (2400m) on Wednesday. 

The Price and Kent Jnr-trained galloper is guaranteed a start in the $8 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 3. 

“We’ve heard that there’s a good group of internationals going to the Geelong Cup so we’ll go to the Moonee Valley Cup and I’m waiting to see if Mark Zahra can ride,” Price said. 

“We’ll go to The Valley on Tuesday and have a gallop around and then the Moonee Valley Cup into the Melbourne Cup that way.” 

Price said the pressure of gaining a start in the Melbourne Cup was taken off when Oceanex won the Andrew Ramsden Stakes (2800m) at Flemington in May. 

And he said missing one race to contest another would not adversely affect Oceanex’s program. 

“If you don’t need to do one thing, you can do another,” Price said. 

“You don’t have to pressure yourself to qualify. 

“She didn’t have much joy in the Turnbull because we went forward then she was posted deep and worked hard.  

“Normally that would matter a lot if you’re trying to get her up the order (of entry). 

“She’s a Group 2 winner and has won a couple of black type races other than that and she was only two spots off getting a run in the Caulfield Cup. 

“She’s going well, I expect her to show up in a Moonee Valley Cup and she’s run a place around Moonee Valley. 

“All she has to do is run a place and we’re on target. 

“The Prince Of Penzance 100-1 recipe.” 

Prince Of Penzance ran second in the Moonee Valley Cup before winning the Melbourne Cup in 2015. 

Oceanex is a $34 chance with TAB in the Melbourne Cup that sees the Aidan O’Brien-trained Tiger Moth as the $6 favourite. 

Oceanex (NZ) and Mark Zahra, picture Racing Photos