New Zealand four-year-old Ocean Park showed a terrific turn of foot in the closing stages to claim the Group 1 2012 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield today.
Peter Moody import Voila Ici led early and at the turn held a two length lead from the entire field and began to kick away.
But Ocean park who appeared to be stuck in traffic in the middle of the pack was brought to the inside before ducking back to the outside of Voila Ici and showed electrifying acceleration to record what turned out be a comfortable win.
Trainer Gary Hennessey has brought the Rosehill Guineas runner-up back to Australia to chase Cox Plate glory and is confident is on the right track towards the weight-for-age championship of Australasia.
“He’s been a bit freakish all the way along,” Hennessy said.
“He’s really special, he’s got a great turn of foot and it’s exciting to come over here and win a Group 1.”
Boss was also singing Ocean Park’s praises after the race and is tipping him to go on to bigger and better things this spring.
“I know immediately when I get on a good horse and I got that feel. He’s a genuine superstar,” Boss said.
“He’s a very, very exciting horse…he’s got those [Cox Plate] attributes.
“You’ve got to have a turn of foot to win a Cox Plate it’s as simple as that.”
Ocean Park has now won five of nine starts with today’s victory coming on the back of a Group 1 win in the Makfi Stakes in New Zealand earlier this month.
December Draw also hinted he could make an impact this spring as he finished off strongly to take third position.
The first Group 1 in Melbourne is now over but that is just a taste of what is to come. For great odds on events such as the Guineas, Cox Plate and the Cups visit bookmaker.com.au.
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Underwood Stakes 2012 – Results
|1||13||OCEAN PARK (NZ)||Gary Hennessy||Glen Boss||–||5||58kg||$8|
|2||4||VOILA ICI (IRE)||Peter G Moody||Vlad Duric||0.5L||9||59kg||$31|
|3||8||DECEMBER DRAW (IRE)||Mark Kavanagh||Michael Rodd||1.5L||13||59kg||$20|
|4||14||SOUTHERN SPEED||Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas||Craig Williams||2.5L||11||57kg||$9|
|5||3||SINCERO||Stephen Farley||Michael Walker||3.25L||12||59kg||$6|
|6||1||MANIGHAR (FR)||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||3.45L||10||59kg||$2F|
|7||12||ZABEELIONAIRE (NZ)||Leon Corstens||Craig Newitt||4.95L||4||58kg||$61|
|8||9||MAWINGO (GER)||Anthony Freedman||Ben Melham||5.15L||8||59kg||$20|
|9||2||WINCHESTER (USA)||John Sadler||Chris Symons||5.35L||7||59kg||$101|
|10||10||SANAGAS (GER)||Bart Cummings||Brad Rawiller||5.85L||1||59kg||$61|
|11||5||MALUCKYDAY (NZ)||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Dwayne Dunn||6.35L||2||59kg||$41|
|12||11||ILLO (GER)||Bart Cummings||Steven Arnold||6.75L||6||59kg||$51|
|13||6||NIWOT||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Dean Holland||7.5L||14||59kg||$101|
|14||7||DRUNKEN SAILOR (IRE)||Michael Moroney||Damien Oliver||12.5L||3||59kg||$61|