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Cox Plate review

 Oct 30 2012

Often in racing we overlook the obvious and it was a sentiment felt by many punters after Ocean Park's stirring Cox Plate victory.

Prior to last Saturday, Ocean Park had been to the races on three occasions this preparation for three victories, all at Group One level and all under weight-for-age conditions. Glen Boss was telling all and sundry he would win while trainer, Garry Hennessy, wasn't saying much, but he never does. 

Yet the son of Thorn Park didn't start favourite or even second favourite for that matter, he was sent around at what we all know now to be the luxurious odds of almost seven to one.  Maybe he'd flown under the radar with much of the pre-race focus being on the trio of three-year-olds in the field and the drama, worthy of an Oscar nomination, which played out between Gai and Singo after the now infamous barrier draw. 

These theatrics will be remembered, but it was the game kiwi who stole the show, becoming just the sixth horse to complete the Underwood, Caulfield Stakes and Cox Plate treble. And when we cast our minds back in months to come, he will most certainly be remembered as one of the most dominant and consistent performers of the 2012 Melbourne spring. 

Boss gave the four-year-old a gem of a ride. After settling towards the tail of the pack, he swept around the field, and despite carrying eight kilograms more, he managed to overhaul a very game, All Too Hard, and score by a neck, while one-time favourite, Pierro, stuck on well for third. With Ethiopia, a four-year-old finishing fourth, the 2012 Cox Plate had a distinctly youthful feel to it.

The win provided Boss his third success in the event, after partnering Makybe Diva in 2005 and So You Think in 2009.

Ocean Park is nominated for this Saturday's Mackinnon Stakes and it would take a brave punter to suggest he couldn't claim a fifth consecutive Group One and push his earnings towards the three-and-a-half-million-dollar mark. Is that history beckoning?

By Katherine Jones

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