NZ horse a favourite for Cox Plate
Tue, 25 Sep 2012 6:37a.m.
New Zealand galloper Ocean Park has been propelled to near the top of the betting for the Cox Plate following an impressive group one win at Caulfield on Saturday.
Ocean Park added the Underwood Stakes (1800m) to an already impressive record to announce himself as a genuine contender for Melbourne's top weight-for-age race.
Only Sydney colt Pierro is ahead of him in early markets for the Cox Plate - and that situation might only be temporary with the Golden Slipper winner due to face his toughest test so far when he steps out in the Caulfield Guineas in three weeks.
Trainer Gary Hennessy labelled the Underwood win as one of Ocean Park's best, but he's taking a cautious approach.
"I think we're headed in the right direction," Hennessy said.
"But we've still got a way to go."
Ocean Park's victory followed that of fellow New Zealander Lion Tamer a year ago.
But Lion Tamer disappointed at his next start in Melbourne then was fatally injured in the Cox Plate.
Perhaps with that in mind, Hennessy preferred the low-key approach, suggesting the horse was likely to run in the Caulfield Stakes on the same day that Pierro runs in the Guineas.
New Zealand mare Zurella disappointed in the Underwood Stakes, following her first-up win at Flemington two weeks ago with a moderate seventh.
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