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This Saturday big race specialist Glen Boss will jump in the saddle of one of the top three fancies in the 2012 Cox Plate but can the soaring Ocean Park hand the hoop with his third Cox Plate trophy?
Gary Hennessy’s in-form Thorn Park four-year-old comes into the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley Racecourse off a three run winning streak, their trio of spring success all being at Group 1 level.
They have defeated a number of their Cox Plate rivals, are the right age for a win in Australasia’s weight-for-age championship and have the advantage of being ridden by one of the best in the business in Boss.
Boss has been signing Ocean Park, last seen beating home subsequent Caulfield Cup runner-up Alcopop by three quarters of a length in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m), praises all week and believes he is on the right horse.
“Why will Ocean Park be my third Cox Plate winner? The reasons are obvious,” Boss, who rode Cox Plate winners Makybe Diva (2005) and So You Think (2009), writes on Fox Sports.
“For a start, he’s got great form. The only times he’s been beaten, he’s run enormous.
“Tactically, I’ll go out with a little plan in my head, but the Cox Plate is a race that can change in an instant.
“You need to be able to throw a plan out the window and adapt.
“I adapted on So You Think in 2009. It wasn’t the plan to lead, it just happened.
“Lucky for me, on Saturday I reckon I’m riding the most adaptable horse.
“He can make a long run around them or he can relax off a slow tempo and sprint with the best of them.
“Seriously, I wouldn’t swap him.”
While Boss doesn’t rate the three-year-olds in the Cox Plate this year saying he’s just got a “gut feeling” they won’t be there in the finish, the bookies have Gai Waterhouse’s star 3YO Pierro as the $4 favourite in the Cox Plate odds.
“I don’t think any of the three-year-olds can win. Hard to explain why – just a gut feeling,” Boss said.
“Pierro is a superstar and he might prove me wrong, but I’d just worry about that gut-buster in the Guineas.
“There have been a lot of good colts run in this race, and history says they usually run a good race but don’t win it.”
Ocean Park meanwhile occupies the third line of Cox Plate betting at bookmaker.com.au at a quote of $5.50 trailing only Pierro and Green Moon ($4.60) the latter of which Boss rates as one of the ones to beat.
“Green Moon ticks similar boxes (to Ocean Park), he said.
“There is a real sense of timing about him; he’s a stronger horse than he was a year ago.
“(Owner) Lloyd Williams only ever wants to win two races – the Cox Plate and the Melbourne Cup – so again I get a sense that there is real timing with Green Moon.”
Trainer Hennessy also believes Ocean Park has the right form for the Cox Plate but knows he’s only lightly-raced and that it will take some real guts.
“It’s a quality field and he’s done nothing wrong,” he said.
“He’s won three Group I races in a row. It’s a huge achievement. If he wins he will create history.
“And you’ve got to remember that he’s only had 10 starts. He’s had six wins and three seconds. When he’s run second he’s only been beaten a head at most.”
So is Boss right? Will Ocean Park be crowned the 2012 Cox Plate winner? Below we take a look at the facts and stats on the horse and the great race to see if they can indeed get the job done in Moonee Valley Race 8 on Saturday.
#9 Ocean Park – Horse Facts
- Jockey: Glen Boss
- Trainer: Gary Hennessy
- Owners: Mr A K K Wong, Mr G T Hennessy, Mr S S Y Yan
- Age: 4YO
- Gender: Stallion
- Breeding: by Thorn Park (AUS) out of Zabeel (NZ) mare Sayyida (NZ)
- Career: 10-6-3-0
- Win: 60%
- Place: 90%
- Last 6: 82×111
- Prize Money: $752,126
- Track: 0-0-0-0
- Distance: 3-1-2-0
- Current 2012 Cox Plate Odds: $5.50
Yes – Ocean Park Can Win the 2012 Cox Plate
- Comes off an imposing three straight Group 1 victories
- Unplaced just once in 10 starts
- The only times they have been beaten to date have still been enormous runs
- Has beaten some smart horses of late including subsequent Caulield Cup runner-up Alcopop in the Caulfield Stakes
- Is versatile and can run off a slow tempo or sprint up on the speed
- Cracker record over the distance (3-1-2-0)
- Is already a weight-for-age star
- Is unbeaten this time in as a four-year-old
- Will be ridden by dual Cox Plate winning jockey Glen Boss who already has them written in as the winner
- 4YO’s have the best record in the race with 26 wins over the years
- Has the fourth best Win Rate in the field (60%)
- Won the Underwood Stakes two back and the Underwood Stakes – Cox Plate double has been completed 15 times previously making it the second most successful double that finishes with the Cox Plate behind the Memsie Stakes – Cox Plate
- The next most successful double is then the Caulfield Stakes – Cox Plate, Ocean Park having won the first leg of that last start
No – Ocean Park Won’t be the 2012 Cox Plate Winner
- Yet to race at the notoriously tight Moonee Valley course
- Are they better for a Place Bet having a 90% place percentage compared to their 60% winning strike rate
- Has only had 10 runs to date and need to beat some far more experienced champs including #4 Green Moon ($4.60) and #10 More Joyous (”$13″) .
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