Ocean Park’s global campaign gained serious momentum with a performance of pace and power in the G1 New Zealand Stakes (2000m) at Ellerslie on Saturday.
Leading home a Thorn Park quinella, Ocean Park defeated multiple G1 winner Veyron who again had to settle for second in the feature after being runner-up last year to Scarlett Lady.
The reigning Cox Plate champion had finished fourth first-up in the Haunui Farm WFA Classic. He will race next in the G1 Dubai Duty Free at Meydan on March 30 and will then fly to the United Kingdom where the G1 Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot in June and Irish Champion Stakes are on his programme.
“This is really special and is a great win for him,” part-owner and trainer Gary Hennessy said. “I could tell 600 metres out that he was travelling easily.”
Ocean Park (4h Thorn Park – Sayyida by Zabeel) will be ridden overseas by champion jockey Johnny Murtagh and he advised Hennessy to give the Cox Plate winner another hit-out before leaving home. “The Dubai Duty Free is run over 1800 metres. Johnny said it’s a very hard race and if there’s the opportunity to start again here then give him another run.
“We’re going on to the world stage and they don’t give Group 1 races to you on a plate.”
Ocean Park hit the front 300 metres from home and forged clear to win by more than three lengths from Sydney-bound Veyron on Saturday. “He felt great and he’s a dream to ride,” jockey Leith Innes said. “He’s one of those push-button horses and he relaxed beautifully up the hill. I was confident a long way out.”
Hennessy purchased Ocean Park from Trelawney Stud at the NZB 2010 Karaka Select Sale for $150,000 and then brought in Hong Kong owners Andrew Wong and Steve Yan.
Windsor Park Stud’s deceased champion Thorn Park got him from a daughter of talented Melbourne mare Eastern Princess (Pompeii Court) who is a three-quarter sister to Golden Slipper winner Courtza and her champion sire son O’Reilly.