Ocean Park (NZ) Storms Through UnderwoodMonday, Sep 24, 2012
Star kiwi entire Ocean Park (NZ) sounded a warning to his Cox Plate rivals on Saturday and made amends for last season’s Australian Group 1 placing with a top performance in the A$400,000 Group 1 Underwood Stakes (2000m).
In the third leg of New Zealand Bloodstock’s Caulfield Spring Weight-for-Age Championship, Ocean Park (Thorn Park x Sayyida by Zabeel) looked every bit a rising star for his New Zealand trainer Gary Hennessy as he dispatched a top field of weight-for-age performers, to earn 10 Championship points and catapult straight to third place.
In adding a much desired Australian Group 1 win to his impressive record after running the unluckiest of seconds in last season’s Rosehill Guineas, Ocean Park made it a hat-trick of wins for kiwi bred horses in the past three Underwood Stakes with Lion Tamer (NZ) (Storming Home) winning the race last year and pin-up Karaka graduate So You Think (NZ) (High Chaparral) successful in 2010.
Ridden by Glen Boss, the four-year-old settled well in transit racing mid-field but looked in deep trouble at the 600 metres when boxed in while trying to find clear racing room.
Ocean Park (NZ) wins fresh up in the
Group 1 Makfi Challenge Stakes.
Boss elected to keep Ocean Park on the rails and that decision proved the winning of the race as the gap eventually came for the son of Thorn Park who produced his exceptional acceleration to put the race beyond doubt, winning by half-a-length.
“He is an exciting horse,” commented Gary Hennessy. "Glen Boss got off after the race and said that he was a super star so to hear a jockey of his stature make a comment like that certainly shows just how good he is.
“His form is very good having beat Mufhasa fresh up in the Group 1 Makfi Challenge Stakes. Mufhasa won his tenth Group 1 on the weekend and has won two Group 1 races in Australia so we take a lot of confidence from that.
“He will go to the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes next up and then it’s on to the Cox Plate.”
Ocean Park won the Group 1 Makfi Challenge Stakes fresh up using that same signature turn of foot to put his rivals away at Hawke’s Bay from a tough position. That ability to quicken will be a big asset for his Cox Plate assault on 27 October where he is the $6 second favourite.
Ocean Park was bred by Trelawney Thoroughbreds and was purchased by Gary Hennessy from Trelawney Stud for $150,000 at the 2010 Karaka Select Sale. Raced by Hennessy in partnership with Hong Kong owners Andrew Wong and Steve Yan, the son of Thorn Park has now won five of his nine starts, two at Group 1 level, for over $645,000 in stakes.
The Peter Moody trained Voila Ici (Daylami x Far Hope) ran a great race to claim second, earning eight Championship points. The Irish bred seven-year-old ran an eye-catching sixth fresh up in the Group 2 NZB Memsie Stakes, earning one point, and sits in fourth place in the Championship with a total of nine points.
December Draw (Medecis x New York) ran a good third for trainer Mark Kavanagh earning six points, his first points in the Championship, after resuming in the Group 2 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m). He is in the sixth line of betting for the Caulfield Cup at $21.
Currently second in the Championship on 13 points, Sincero (Umatilla) picked up three points for his fifth place but it was not enough to catch Championship leader Second Effort (Mossman) who remains in the lead with 16 points heading into the final leg, the A$400,000 Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) on 13 October.
Ocean Park is one of 16 stakes winners and four Group 1 winners for his young sire Thorn Park who stands at Windsor Park Stud.
An exciting stallion, Thorn Park was New Zealand’s Champion Sire in 2011 with his son Jimmy Choux winning the Group 1 2000 Guineas/Group 1 NZ Derby double. Jimmy Choux also won the Rosehill Guineas and ran second in the Cox Plate behind top mare Pinker Pinker (Reset).
With A$1.24 million in stakes up for grabs over the four-race series, the ultimate winner of the Championship will receive trophies to the value of $25,000. To view the points table for the Championship, click here.