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It is a field boasting plenty of intrigue and depth for the 2012 Randwick Guineas this Saturday and one of the great unknowns in the field and the betting markets is Kiwi visitor Ocean Park.
Drawn in barrier two of 17 for the $500,000 Group 1 Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m) with ace Aussie hoop Craig Williams to ride, the Gary Hennessy-trained Ocean Park boasts an ultra-consistent record back home so far that they will be looking to add to down under this Saturday.
The Thorn Park colt has won three of their five starts to date, and run second in their other two appearances, three of which have been at Group level.
Their biggest and best win so far came in the Group 3 Wellington Stakes over the mile at Trentham on January 21 when Chad Ormsby guided them to a four and a half length victory over Nashville.
Last seen running a quarter length away second to Silent Achiever in the Group 3 Waikato Guineas (2000m) at Te Rapa on February 4, connections made the decision to bring Ocean Park to Australia and give them a chance at the elite level riches on offer for the Randwick Guineas.
Originally Ocean Park was to run in last weeks’ Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) but Hennessy withdrew them due to the unsuitably wet Ellerslie course.
“He’s just not a chance on wet tracks,” Hennessy said.
“It would have been senseless sending him around when we already knew the result.”
Hennessy said from Sydney that Ocean Park had arrived there in good order and that the good weather and likely firm track at Royal Randwick on Saturday would play right into their hand.
“He’s arrived here in good order,” he said.
“I’m very pleased with him. He’s bouncy as.
“The weather here is beautiful and it’s like the worm has turned in our favour.
“The tracks have dried out and it’s looking good for Saturday.”
Getting back to the mile is also going to suit this up-and-coming three-year-old and as such Ocean Park is equal $12 third favourite in the Randwick Guineas odds at bookmaker.com.au along with the Gai Waterhouse-trained duo of Wild And Proud, upset winner of the Hobartville Stakes on protest last time out, and the undefeated Laser Hawk.
“He’s run a couple of real slashers over 1600m in the two Guineas races he’s run in and if he can take that form in to this race, I think he’ll be competitive,” Hennessy said.
“We’re jumping into the deep water with him but he’s done enough to earn that opportunity.”
Randwick Guineas betting markets at bookmaker.com.au are led by the Ron Leemon-trained Manawanui ($3.10), looking to atone for their second in the Hobartville after losing the No. 1 spot, and runaway Australian Guineas winner Mosheen ($3.50) looking to beat home the boys again.
Following the Randwick Guineas Hennessy plans to run Ocean Park in the $500,000 Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) on March 31, with Craig Williams to retain the ride.
He will then take them back home for a freshen up ahead of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, after which international glory over in Hong Kong could be on the cards.
“We’re looking to come back to Melbourne in the spring and have three runs there, with the idea to get the horse over to the Hong Kong Cup and Hong Kong Derby,” Hennessy said.
“He’s a very valuable horse as a stallion prospect and we have to look along those lines.”
To get behind the local contingent or back Ocean Park to give the Kiwi’s an upset win in the Randwick Guineas on Saturday, visit Australia’s premier online betting agency bookmaker.com.au.
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