Kiwi four year old Ocean Park kept his Spring record intact with a hard fought win in the Group 1 $400,000 Cathay Pacific Caulfield Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield today.
Ocean Park made it three Group 1 wins this Spring after winning first up at Hastings in the NZ$200,000 Makfi Challenge Stakes (1400m) before coming to Melbourne and talking out the $400,000 Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on September 22.
The New Zealand galloper will maintain his position as second favourite behind Pierro in the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 27 with winning Glen Boss saying he would not swap Ocean Park with any other runner.
“He has the weight for age form now. He’s got the ability to come off the bridle and get back on it very, very quickly,” Boss said.
“I’m not under estimating the job he’s got a head of him but at the moment I wouldn’t swap, I really wouldn’t because I really love this horse.”
Boss believes that Ocean Park is the right horse for the Cox Plate and today he showed that he was able to find plenty in a tight tough finish which is usually the case in a Cox Plate.
Boss gave Ocean Park a cosy run with Midas Touch rolling along at a reasonable pace with Sydneysider Sincero trailing him where ever he went.
Ocean Park seemed to move up to the leader effortless on the home turn and for a moment looked to be overhauled by Sincero but when Boss produced the whip, the tough New Zealander knuckled down and responded to draw away for a dominate win in the end.
Winning trainer Gary Hennessy knows where he is with Ocean Park and will be able to produce him in tip top order come Cox Plate day.
“Really pleased with it and Bossy didn’t want to give him a hard one. He’s only had two gallops coming into this, that’s good,” Hennessy said.
“That’s the race we are looking for and we didn’t want a gut buster today. We’ll just take him along quietly next week and he’ll only need another gallop to tick him over.”
“He’s had to step up as a four year old. Sometimes you don’t know and he’s done it in a Group 1, 1400m, 1800m, 2000m.Yoy can’t beat winning a Group 1.”
Runner-up Alcopop was doing his best work at the finish indicating that his back on track for a crack at the Group 1 $2.5m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield next week.
“We’ll try for the Caulfield Cup,” trainer Jake Stephens said.