Racing: Rider, trainer oceans apart

By Mike Dillon

However, Glen Boss and Gary Hennessy combined for great Cox Plate victory.

There is no other game that can throw together diverse personalities better and more often than racing.

Glen Boss and Gary Hennessy stood side by side in what passes as a birdcage at Moonee Valley on Saturday.

Boss, shaved head and beaming, came forth with the vocabulary that was put into his body with an introduction of: "Why use one word when 20 will do"?

Hennessy was the quiet Kiwi, saying very little. Inside both horsemen raged a torrent of excitement that can be ignited only with a win like a Melbourne Cup, or in this case Ocean Park's A$3 million Cox Plate victory for New Zealand.

They simply have different ways of expressing it.

Suddenly, Boss darted away from the media, charged out on to the course proper and did high-fives with those leaning over the running rail.

"This is what they come here for - they come here for a party, and that's what I'm gunna give 'em," Boss said.

If you ever thought you saw Gary Hennessy doing that you would check your pulse. And his.

"I just feel vindicated - I've always loved this colt," said Boss when his heart rate finally dropped below 160. "Everyone who wanted to hear about this colt, I would tell them 'he's the horse'.

"Gary's just a humble guy, he doesn't say much, just goes about his business," Boss said. "He's a horseman, he's just like me in that respect - obviously, I'm more amped up than Gary is." That gives new meaning to understatement.

This Cox Plate will be remembered for the way punters swayed off Ocean Park's chances, despite his winning successive group ones going into it.

Group one racing is built on hype and no one delivers the spin better than Gai Waterhouse. Even with three runners, Gai was probably never going to win the race, but in the way she has done for years, she totally captured every press ear in Melbourne.

The result was that Ocean Park's $7 price midweek, shortened only to $6 on Saturday, was plainly ridiculous. Hennessy and Boss couldn't fathom it.

It even caused Hennessy to break ranks with his usual reticence and inform a press conference: "You guys have got this wrong. We've got the form on the board going into this race and we've got the money in the bank to prove it."

That bank suddenly looked a lot different on Saturday night. The Thorn Park entire, who brought $150,000 in the Karaka sale ring, suddenly had A$2,552,000 to his name for his three owners Gary Hennessy and Hong Kong mates Steve Yan and Andrew Wong.

Boss declared this his greatest achievement in racing. Your jaw drops open when you remember Makybe Diva's Cox Plate and three Melbourne Cups and So You Think, Boss' second Cox Plate winner.

What he was trying to convey - this is one statement Boss would probably like to re-phrase - was that he was declaring Ocean Park the winner of the Cox Plate months out and did not waiver right through to being legged on the horse on Saturday afternoon. As we said in Saturday's Weekend Herald, Glen Boss is a journalist's dream. He would tell you anything.

He comes closest to a tear when he talks of his wife Sloane and their two children. Tied into the same emotion is his trademark shake of the head when he goes across the line in a group one race - Makybe Diva's victories were examples.

Boss describes it as disbelief. "I just can't believe I'm here sometimes - just an uneducated boofhead who didn't finish grade 10."

That's not the impression Boss gives anyone after a victory. He is articulate and sharp.

Perhaps surprisingly, Hennessy had the last say, not something you always get with the slight man they call The Boss.

"I had a champion jockey on," he said. "He's not the boss, he's the king."

- NZ Herald

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