Melbourne Cup Betting

Site Contributors

Chief Editor: Elliot Dean
Writer: Tim Brook
Writer: Marcus Walta
Photographer: James Demetrie
Photographer: Jared Hunter

Ocean Park Takes Underwood

New Zealand horse Ocean Park has added itself another major player in the Spring with a strong win in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday. Despite being a $6 chance on track, the victory came as a surprise to most and has seen him storm into serious Cox Plate contention.

Ridden beautifully by jockey Glen Boss, Ocean Park sat midfield and found himself in a tough spot before weaving through runners coming into the turn, and then running down  Irish middle distance roughie Voila Ici to win by 0.5 lengths. Last years' Turnball Stakes winner December Draw fought on bravely to be a length further back in third place.

Race favourite, Peter Moody trained Manighar was disappointing, finishing back in sixth place. It was Moody's other horse, Voila Ici, who put in the cheekiest of races, pinching a break on the final turn and almost holding on for what would have been a shock win at $40.

Boss, who talked down Cox Plate chances for his winning mount last week, Happy Trails, was a lot more positive about the Cox prospects over Ocean Park.

"He's a very athletic horse, he won't take much work", the multi Cox winning jockey said.

''He's got everything you want to win big races. He can sprint quickly and at the same time take a position. All of the major races are probably within his grasp."

Trainer Gary Hennessey was equally as confident after the big win. "Ocean Park showed that in his last start and again today, he's special, with a real turn of foot. It's exciting to come over here and win a Group 1," he said.''

Ocean Park is now a $6 second favourite for the Cox Plate behind 3 year old star Pierro. Manighar is fourth favourite at $8 while December Draw is a $26 chance.

In the other big Melbourne staying race of the weekend, Folding Gear became exempt from the Caulfield Cup ballot winning the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes. The five year old gelding beat NZ runner Mr O'Ceirin by half a length, with Exceptionally making up the placings. It wasn't a particular strong Naturalism and has not had much impact on Caulfield Cup betting.

The Sportingbet Sprint saw Glen Boss again victorious, this time on board Darley runner Detours. He outclassed Classy Chloe and Mrs Onassis, with favourite Soft Sand back in fourth. Mosheen was competitive but still under a fitness cloud after his recent surgery, and was three lengths off the winner.

The Thousand Guineas Prelude was another highlight of the day (right up there with the 3 party pies for $1.50 the MRC put on for happy punters). Fabourite Commanding Jewel looked the winner at the 250 mark but Lady Of Harrods jumped out of her skin to steal victory in a photo finish.

Molto Bene put in a very eye catching run for third and is now a major Thousand Guineas chance.

Next weekend punters are treated to 2 race meetings with the Carnival heading to Moonee Valley on Friday night for Schweppes Stakes Night and back to Caulfield on Sunday for the Rupert Clarke.

In between, punters can enjoy a little thing known as the AFL Grand Final.