Kiwi trainer Gary Hennessy will look to add another Group 1 victory to Ocean Park’s resume at Flemington next Saturday after the four year old kept his perfect Spring record intact with a win in the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley today.
Hennessy had pencilled in the Cox Plate for Ocean Park back in the Autumn and the four year old has come through a faultless Spring preparation which has produced four Group 1 wins on both sides of the Tasman.
“We’ll probably back up in the Mackinnon. The horse did so well in between starts and he’s just really thrived. Nothing fazed him and we were really confident going into this race,” Hennessy said.
The Group 1 $1m Longines Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington next Saturday will be Ocean Park’s fifth Group 1 appearance this campaign and after today’s Cox Plate victory it would seem likely that he could remain unbeaten at the highest level this Spring.
Hennessy kicked off Ocean Park’s Cox Plate campaign with a win in the NZ$200,000 Makfi Challenge Stakes (1400m) at Hawke’s Bay, Hastings on September 1 before coming to Australia and winning the $400,000 Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on September 22 with Glen Boss on board.
With Boss in the saddle again Ocean Park proved too strong for Alcopop in the $400,000 Cathay Pacific Caulfield Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on October 13 before proving he was the weight for age champion at Moonee Valley today.
Hennessy was blessed with a faultless preparation and with the expertise of Boss on race day has come through the Spring to date with all the rewards.
“You set a plan way back in last Autumn, just a thing hasn’t gone wrong with the horse and today was huge,” Hennessy said.
“Today he’s proved to be the best weight for age horse in Australasia.”
Even tough Boss has won three successive Melbourne Cups and a Cox Plate on the great mare Makybe Diva and also another Cox Plate victory on international Group 1 winner So You Think in 2009, he still regards Ocean Park’s Cox Plate win as one of the greatest achievements of his career.
“It feels like my greatest achievement in this sport so far,” Boss said.
“I know I’ve done some wonderful things but I’ve been in this colt’s corner for a long time and there has been doubters but I’ve kept saying he’s a winner.”
“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. You know when you’re in their corner the whole time, you keep telling every on and you say this is the horse.”
“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.”
Ocean Park took his record to seven wins from eleven starts, including four Group 1s, and with today’s Cox Plate $1.8 million winner’s cheque took his overall prizemoney to over $2.5 million.