Eye-catching Rosehill Guineas runner-up from the weekend Ocean Park will get their chance at a rematch with Gai Waterhouse’s talented three-year-old Laser Hawk when they go to the 2012 Australian Derby at Royal Randwick on Saturday week.
Gary Hennessy’s Thorn Park colt debuted down under when finishing tow and a half lengths off Mosheen in the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) at Randwick on March 17 when ridden by Craig Williams.
A winner of three of their seven starts to date Ocean Park showed nice improvement on Saturday when they came within a long neck of Waterhouse’s winner Laser Hawk in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m).
For the Rosehill Guineas Ocean Park was ridden by Glen Boss, Williams in Dubai for the ride on successful Al Quoz Sprint champ Ortensia.
Now connections of the Group 3 Wellington Stakes winner are eyeing off an even bigger prize, Ocean Park to continue onto the $1.5 million Group 1 ATC Australian Derby (2400m) on April 14, on the advice of Boss.
“I spoke to Gary (Hennessy) this morning, he said the horse had pulled up better than he did from his run before,” Boss said.
“He’s a good tough colt and he’s got a lot of talent.
“He’s going to run in the Derby now.
“I’m telling you, if you swapped the barriers I reckon I win by a minute.
“My horse had no favours whatsoever, I did all the hard work from the half mile.
“I had nothing going forward then I had one come out from inside me at the top of the straight and wobble around and hit me which put him off his game for about two or three strides.
“I reckon if I’d had a ride before I might have ridden him a little bit different.
“He’s a really good looking horse, he’s not huge, he’s just a great athletic looking horse and he gives you a great feel.
“He’s going to be particularly hard to beat (in the Derby).
“I though the horse was very good, because he had to make a long searching run from about the half mile and he was there to be beaten by that filly (Silent Achiever) when she came up beside him.
“You thought she was going to pass him but he refused to let her get past.
“There was an opinion that he wouldn’t get the trip but I had a chat to his jockey that used to ride him back in New Zealand and he was pretty upbeat about this horse.
“He thought he was better than the filly, he was pretty confident that he would run a mile and a half.
“I was convinced that the horse would run a mile and a half it was as good a trial as I’ve seen going into a Derby for a long time.”
The 2012 ATC Australian Derby field is likely to look very similar to that of the Rosehill Guineas with the first four over the line last weekend all confirmed for the rematch.
Laser Hawk is the new $4 favourite in the Australian Derby odds at bookmaker.com.au followed closely by beaten Rosehill Guineas favourite, the third placed Silent Achiever ($4.40).
Roger James’ NZ Derby winning O’Reilly filly finished under half a length off Laser Hawk in the Rosehill Guineas and looks set for improvement heading into the Australian Derby having already run and won over the 2400-metres, and now with an Aussie run under her belt.
Also in the mix is $10 third favourite Ambidexter ($10), Peter Snowden’s Commands colt having run a good fourth in both the Randwick and Rosehill Guineas.
Ocean Park, meanwhile, is yet to be added to the latest Australian Guineas betting markets but is likely to be within the top three once priced.