New Zealand four-year-old Ocean Park will be out to continue his early season success on his march towards the 2012 Cox Plate when he lines up in the Group 1 2012 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) this Saturday.
The Gary Hennessy-trained entire had immediate success in his second trip to Australia last month when beating a host of stars in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m).
It came on the back of a Group 1 win in the Makfi Challenge Stakes (1400m) in New Zealand after first showing promise in the autumn when runner-up to Laser Hawk in the Rosehill Guineas.
Lightly raced for just five wins from nine starts, Ocean Park will meet a number of potential Cox Plate rivals on Saturday including Manighar who finished sixth in a below par performance in the Underwood.
Star jockey Glen Boss rode him for the first time in the Underwood Stakes and will again be aboard this weekend.
Boss could not hide his delight following the Underwood Stakes win and didn’t hesitate to declare the Thorn Park entire as a Cox Plate contender.
“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.”
Manighar trainer Peter Moody has said the Cox Plate has always been the goal for the multiple Group 1 winner but hinted after the Underwood that he would have to perform this weekend or face a change of plans.
If the import fails to show close to his best this weekend it is likely he will instead head to the Caulfield Cup.
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