Top Melbourne jockey Glen Boss will be back aboard Ocean Park when the Gary Hennessy trained Group 1 winning Kiwi galloper returns to Australia for the Spring.
Boss teamed up with Ocean Park in the Autumn when narrowly beaten by Laser Hawk in the Group 1 $500,000 Flinders Lane Rosehill Guineas (2000m) at Rosehill on March 31 and Hennessy will stick with the Melbourne Cup winning jockey in Melbourne.
Ocean Park resumed from a winter spell to take out the Group 1 NZ$200,000 Makfi Challenge Stakes (1400m) at Hawke’s Bay, Hastings on Saturday and still has to decide between a start in the Group 1 $2.5m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 20 or the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 27.
“We’ve got him entered for the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate and we’ll be guided pretty much by what Glen tells us as to which race we aim for,” said Hennessy.
Hennessy races Ocean Park in partnership with Hong Kong residents Andrew Wong and Steve Yan, and the Matamata trainer was forced to abandoned a run in this year’s Group 1 $1.5m David Jones Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick on April 14 when the then three year old developed a minor fetlock problem and had to be scratched on race morning.
Hennessy has selected the Group 1 $400,000 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on September 22 as his Melbourne debut and the four year old will fly in only a couple days before.
“Everything’s in place,” Hennessy said.
“I was in Melbourne a couple of weeks ago and organised stabling for the campaign, now it’s just a matter of keeping him ticking over and doing what he has to at home.”
“The stabling I’ve got at Caulfield has all the same gear as at home – a treadmill, that sort of thing – so I’ll be able to keep up the same training programme.”
New Zealand’s leading rider Lisa Allpress was aboard Ocean Park on Saturday and gave the year old a cosy run behind the leaders and then exploded through an inside gap at the 200m mark.
“He’s come through Saturday in good shape and as Lisa said, he was only asked to gallop the last 200 metres. The trip down and back probably took more out of him than the race itself,” Hennessy said.
“He’s a horse that doesn’t need a lot of hard work and by the time we arrive in Melbourne he’ll have done the serious side of his training.”
Hennessy is hoping to add more Group 1 glory to Ocean Park’s portfolio with a successful stud career waiting for the Thorn Park entire and is comparing him favourably with New Zealand’s top Group 1 performer Jimmy Choux.
“What he did on Saturday showed another dimension to the horse,” Hennessy said.
“Jimmy Choux couldn’t win that race fresh-up last year and the turn of foot he produced when the gap came is something that only the very best horses possess.”
Ocean Park has been elevated to $17 third favourite for the Caulfield Cup behind the Robert Hichmott trained Green Moon at $13 and Anthony’s Freedman‘s Doomben Cup winner Mawingo at $16.
And the four year old also holds a prominent position in early Cox Plate markets and is a $15 chance behind the Gai Waterhouse pair of Pierro ($5) and More Joyous ($6.50).