Gary Hennessy’s flying Kiwi galloper Ocean Park secured their third Group 1 win on the trot today taking out the 2012 Caulfield Stakes in a tough effort ahead of their big test in the Cox Plate in a fortnight’s time.
The Thorn Park four-year-old enjoyed a first-up win back home in the Group 1 Makfi Challenge Stakes (1400m) at Hastings before travelling back down under, the stallion having run in Sydney during the autumn including their close second in the Rosehill Guineas, to defeat a crack field in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m).
They relished another run at Caulfield today stepping up in distance for the $400,000 Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m), Ocean Park having dominated the markets since the early scratching of Peter Moody’s autumn star Manighar, celebrating their official birth date with another thoroughbred major.
“You can’t beat winning a Group 1 on your birthday,” Hennessy said, Ocean Park a young four-year-old.
“It’s a great feeling.”
Relishing the small field Ocean Park and jockey Glen Boss were in a beautiful position throughout and while it was not a spectacular victory the horse got the job done and it is all systems go for a super clash with Pierro in the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on the 27th.
Ocean Park displayed an excellent attitude easing back early to settle just off the pace set by leader Midas Touch to sit fourth.
Well positioned the raging favourite was posed in fourth on the outside one out, one back with cover and within striking range.
Lobbing away beautifully in fourth Boss rode Ocean Park very quietly and things couldn’t have gone better for them before asking the jockey asked the horse to respond with 600m to go.
As the field bounced on the turn Ocean Park started to cater up to them before hitting the lead with 200m to go.
Memsie Stakes winner Sincero dashed up on their outside to make a real race of it while an eye-catching run from Jake Stephens’ veteran Adelaide stayer Alcopop saw them come from last to also challenge the favourite.
The winner and $1.50 favourite how showed true grit when it counted opening it up on the line responding well under pressure to put half a length on the fast-finishing Alcopop ($20) who raced out of his skin back in fine form ahead of a possible Caulfield Cup run next Saturday, Sincero ($5) run down to finish third.
“Really pleased with it,” Hennessy said after the win.
“Bossy didn’t want to give him a hard run and he’s only had two gallops heading into this.”
Ocean Park didn’t blitz them but instead had to really lift and find today and looks to be kicking over beautifully towards the 2012 Cox Plate.
“That’s the race we’re looking for and we didn’t want a gut buster today,” Hennessy said.
“He’ll only need another gallop to tie him over.”
Boss was also very happy with the run by Ocean Park and was confident they were the right horse for the Cox Plate this year.
“That’s a race he really needed today,” Boss said
“He’s put on weight since that last run.
“I’m glad he had a contest today because he really needed that.
“The best part about him was his attitude.
“In the run I couldn’t believe how relaxed he became.
“For a horse that had not a lot of racing….he does exactly what you want.
“He was very good.
“When he got clear he switched off, but that’s probably the fact he might have just needed the run.
“He’s got the ability to put himself anywhere in the race so I’m not worried about the pressure (in the Cox Plate).
“I think he’s the right horse, he’s got weight-for-age experience.
“I’m not underestimating the job he’ got ahead of him but at the moment I wouldn’t swap, I really wouldn’t, I love this horse.”
The official 2012 Cathay Pacific Caulfield Stakes results can be found below.
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2012 Caulfield Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Caulfield Guineas Day Race 5 – 13/10/2012
|1||6||OCEAN PARK (NZ)||Gary Hennessy||Glen Boss||–||5||58kg||$1.50F|
|2||4||ALCOPOP||Jake Stephens||Dom Tourneur||0.75L||6||59kg||$20|
|3||2||SINCERO||Stephen Farley||Michael Rodd||0.85L||2||59kg||$5|
|4||3||MIDAS TOUCH (GB)||Robert Hickmott||Hugh Bowman||3.85L||4||59kg||$11|
|5||7||SABRAGE||Michael Moroney||Kerrin McEvoy||5.1L||3||58kg||$18|
|6||5||SANAGAS (GER)||Bart Cummings||Brad Rawiller||5.6L||1||59kg||$21|
|–||8||VATUVEI||Peter G Moody||Ben Melham||–||0||–||–|
|–||1||MANIGHAR (FR)||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||–||0||–||–|