Cox Plate winner Ocean Park looks set to maintain his unbeaten Spring record when he lines up in the Group 1 $1m Longines Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Ocean Park made it four from four this preparation with a tough win in the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley last Saturday and has come up with barrier four in the small Mackinnon field of eight.
Jockey of the Carnival Glen Boss had to work overtime on Ocean Park to overhaul three year old All Too Hard to take out the Cox Plate and is again the one to beat in the weight for age Group 1 on Saturday.
Boss has sung the praises of the Thorn Park four year old since he first rode him in Sydney during the Autumn when he proclaimed Ocean Park as a very serious racehorse.
“I’ve pencilled this horse in after the Rosehill Guineas, I said this is a star. And I kept telling everyone when this this horse comes back his next preparation, you just watch, he’s a serious race horse.” Boss said.
“You know when you’re in their corner the whole time, you keep telling every on and you say this is the horse.”
Boss had his first ride on Ocean Park when second to Laser Hawk in the Group 1 $500,000 Flinders Lane Rosehill Guineas (2000m) at Rosehill on March 31 and was adamant he should have won had he known the horse a little bit better.
“He should have won his last six races all at Group 1 level. He’s an amazing animal, he just wants to win. What a great colt,” Boss said.
Kiwi trainer Gary Hennessy has no worries about backing up the tough four year old up after taking out the weight for age championship at Moonee Valley last week.
“We’ll probably back up in the Mackinnon,” Hennessy said after the Cox Plate win.
“The horse did so well in between starts and he’s just really thrived. Nothing fazed him.”
The John Saddler trained Winchester and Leon Corstens’ Zabeelionaire will be having their last hit out before next Tuesday Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington.
While Prairie Star and Back In Black can be guaranteed a start in the Melbourne Cup if they can win the Mackinnnon and gain automatic entry for Tuesday.
Trainer Jake Stephens will be looking for an overdue win for Alcopop after the eight year has finished second at his last two starts at Group 1 level.
Alcopop returned to his best form with a solid second to Ocean Park in the $400,000 Cathay Pacific Caulfield Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on October 13 after being held up for a run in the straight.
And then the Jeune gelding looked the winner in the $2.5m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 20 before getting run down by the French stayer Dunaden.