Glen Boss is no sure thing to retain the mount on Cox Plate winner Ocean Park when the four year old ventures overseas next year to take on the best gallopers on the international stage.
New Zealand trainer Gary Hennessey has not committed to a jockey as he contemplates taking Ocean to the Dubai World Cup Carnival in March and a possible trip to England for Royal Ascot in June.
Hennessey has pencilled in the Group 1 US$5m Dubai Duty Free (1800m) at Meydan in Dubai on March 30 with several Kiwi riders in the mix with Boss to compete for the ride on the top weight for age performer.
“We’ve got a few good riders in New Zealand at the moment and they could do the job if required,” Hennessy said.
“A decision hasn’t been made yet but we have a few options.”
Boss was aboard Ocean Park’s four Melbourne starts during the Spring Carnival but will have to contest the ride with top New Zealand jockeys Oppie Bosson, Letih Innes and Lisa Allpress who steered Ocean Park to his first up win to kick off his Spring campaign in the Group 1 NZ$200,000 Makfi Challenge Stakes (1400m) at Hawke’s Bay, Hastings on September 1.
Boss had continually praised the ability of Ocean Park before he scored on the four year old in the Group 1 $400,000 Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on October 22 and followed that up with another impressive win in the Group 1 $400,000 Cathay Pacific Caulfield Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on October 13.
The big race jockey was confident going into the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 27 and Ocean Park didn’t disappoint when he overhauled three year old All Too Hard over the final fifty metres to claim the weight for age championship.
Hennessey is keen to give Ocean Park one run in Australia over 1400m before heading to Dubai second up, repeating the successful Spring program.
“His win in the Underwood Stakes was second-up and we will look to replicate that when we go to Dubai,” Hennessy said.
“I’m not too sure where his first start will be, ideally over 1400m in Australia.
“Dubai is the main aim, that is where we want him to be at his peak.
“The race is worth $5 million so it is enticing.”
Hennessey is looking to enhance Ocean Park’s value as a stallion prospect and believes that success overseas in the Northern Hemisphere will lift the international profile of the Thorn Park stallion when he commences stud duties.
“While the prizemoney is far more rewarding in Hong Kong and Australia, the prestige that comes with winning European Group races is worth travelling for,” Hennessey said.
The Group 1 £250,000 The Queen Anne Stakes (1 mile) and the Group 1 £400,000 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (1 mile 2 furlongs) at Royal Ascot in June are two races that Hennessey has in mind.