Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
Matamata horseman Gary Hennessy is already eyeing a fifth straight Group 1 victory with his talented Cox Plate winner Ocean Park, the ace galloper set to back up from their gritty win in the ‘race where legends are made’ in just seven days’ time for the Mackinnon Stakes 2012.
Today at Moonee Valley four-year-old Thorn Park gelding Ocean Park hit the record books becoming the first horse in history to complete a Group 1 winning quartet with the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m).
Having previously won the Challenge Stakes first-up in their native New Zealand in September Ocean Park was bought to Victoria to target the spring riches and they have come up trumps every time winning both the Underwood Stakes and Caulfield Stakes before their brilliant Cox Plate victory.
Gunning down brave Caulfield Guineas winner All Too Hard to become the 27th four-year-old Cox Plate winner, Ocean Park earned a whole new league of fans taking their latest challenge in their stride.
So emotional was Glen Boss after the victory that he declared the win his “greatest achievement in this sport” trumping even his trio of Melbourne Cup wins with the superlative mare Makybe Diva.
Indeed Boss had been on the Ocean Park bandwagon since partnering them for their second to Laser Hawk in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) back in March and Hennessy was thrilled for the jockey to get the cake with the horse he’d been so dedicated to.
“Glen’s been singing this horse praises and if you haven’t been listening, too bad!” the usually soft-spoken Hennessy said after the 2012 Cox Plate result.
“Glen Boss, he’s a champion!”
Hennessy was also happy for all of New Zealand with Ocean Park the first Cox Plate winning Kiwi since the mighty Sunline back in 2000.
“It’s the epitome of every trainer’s career,” he said.
“It’s great and I’m just really pleased for all of New Zealand.
“we set a plan way back in last autumn and a thing hasn’t’ gone wrong with the horse
“This is just huge.
“We’ve got just a really lovely horse.
“Today he’s proved he’s the best weight-for-age horse in Australasia.”
While the Cox Plate would usually be the grand final for a galloper, the lovely attitude and ability to bounce back Ocean Park has displayed to date has earned him one more spring run in the $1 million Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) on Victoria Derby Day next Saturday, the first of four meetings making up the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
“We’ll probably back up in the Mackinnon,” Hennessy said.
“The horse did so well between starts, he does so well, nothing fazes him.”
The 2012 Longines Mackinnon Stakes nominations are due for release on Monday (October 29).
It should be an exciting Mackinnon Stakes 2012, with the race offering a Melbourne Cup ballot exemption to the winner.
One horse that will be looking to sneak into the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m), run as Flemington Race 7 on Tuesday November 6, is the OTI-owned Prairie Star, the French import last seen making their Aussie debut with a brave fourth in the Group 3 David Jones Cup (2000m) on Caulfield Cup Day.
Prairie Star, now prepared by Danny O’Brien, is currently 31st on the Melbourne Cup order of entry and is right on the brink of making the 24-horse final field paying $81 in the Melbourne Cup odds at bookmaker.com.au.
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