Matamata trainer Gary Hennessy was very pleased to see the sun shining when he arrived in Sydney with Australian Derby hopeful Ocean Park.
Hennessy took a huge gamble when he scratched Ocean Park from the Group 1 NZ$750,000 Telecom New Zealand Derby (2400m) at Ellerslie on March 3 because of the rain affected track and decided to come to Sydney looking for some sunny weather.
“The weather is beautiful and it’s like the worm has turned in our favour. The tracks have dried out and it’s looking good for Saturday.” said Hennessy.
“He’s just not a chance on wet tracks. It would be senseless sending him around when we already knew the result.”
The Thorn Park colt will be having his first Australian start in the Group 1 $500,000 Turnpoint Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday and comes here with a solid record.
Ocean Park has three wins from five starts to his credit, including the Group 3 NZ$70,000 Wellington Stakes at Trentham on January 21 before running second to Derby winner Silent Achiever in the Group 3 HS Dyke Waikato Guineas (2000m) at Te Rapa on February 4.
The Kiwi trainer gave Ocean Park a solid 1200m barrier trial at Cambridge last Thursday before leaving New Zealand to make up for the lost run in the Derby.
“It did put him on the toe afterwards but it’s had the desire effect. He did some work on the treadmill on Sunday and had the trip over here. ”
Hennessey is happy with his three year old’s condition since arriving in Australia and is looking forward to lining up against the likes of top Sydney three year old Manawanui and Australian Guineas winner Mosheen.
“He arrived in good order. I’m very pleased with him,’ Hennessy said.
“He’s run a couple of real slashers over 1600m and if he can take that form into this race I think he’ll be competitive.”
In form jockey Craig Williams has picked up the ride on the Kiwi three year old and will have first refusal in the Group 1 $500,000 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) at Rosehill in two weeks.
Hennessey’s long range plan for Ocean Park is Melbourne in the Spring then possibly over to Hong Kong for the Cup and the Derby.
Ocean Park is on the fourth line of betting at $11 behind favourite Manawanui at $3.25 with Crown Oaks winner Mosheen at $3.75.
The Anthony Cummings three year old Strike The Stars is also in the mix at $10.