NZ Horse Ocean Park Wins Cox Plate
Ocean Park became the first New Zealand-trained horse in 8 years to win the Cox Plate, running down 3 year old All Too Hard to claim the $3 million weight for age event.
It was a race of high expectations, with a quality field that included established stars and a handful of the best 3 year olds in recent memory. It didn't disappoint!
Proisir and Ethiopia showed early speed in the race with Happy Trails, All Too Hard and Pierro handy. Gai Waterhouse's decision to choose barrier 11 for More Joyous turned into a nightmare, with her mare posted 5 wide in early going.
At the 600, Caulfield Guineas winner All Too Hard made his move, rounding up Ethiopia and Proisir, taking the lead coming into the straight. Ocean Park started to wind up from back in the field, and gradually wore down the brave 3 year old, winning the Cox Plate by a head.
Pierro finished strongly for third, while Ethiopia battled on well and captured fourth place.
Jockey Glen Boss, who had been talking up the ability of Ocean Park since first riding him back in Autumn, rated the win one of his best ever.
"It feels like my greatest achiement in this sport so far", the popular rider said after the win.
"I know I've done some wonderful things but I've been in this colts corner the whole time and there's been doubters but all I kept saying is he's a winner".
"He just wants to win, he just wants to beat whatever's in front of him".
There is no questioning his will to win, with Ocean Park proving victorious in 4 from 4 races this Spring, amazingly all at Group 1 level!
His prize money now jumps to over $2.6 million, and his record of 11 starts for 7 wins and 3 seconds puts him as one of the greatest gallopers currently going around.
Winning trainer Gary Hennessy was very proud of the win, not just for himself and connections, but for all of New Zealand.
"I'm really pleased for all New Zealand', he said after the race. "You set a plan back in last Autumn, and a thing hasn't gone wrong with the horse and today was huge."
"We've got ourselves a really lovely horse and today he's proved he's the best weight for age horse in Australasia."