Racing: Boss takes command of Cox Plate

By Mike Dillon

One of the few benefits of rising early is enjoying spectacular sunrises like this, which provided the backdrop to Yosei (right) and Ocean Park at Moonee Valley. Photo / Getty Images
One of the few benefits of rising early is enjoying spectacular sunrises like this, which provided the backdrop to Yosei (right) and Ocean Park at Moonee Valley. Photo / Getty Images

One of the great things about Glen Boss is you don't have to take too many breaths before you find out what he's thinking.

When the Herald contacted Boss in Melbourne yesterday it took seconds for the group one jockey to take a swipe at all the Australian media blurb that he and New Zealand star Ocean Park probably can't win tomorrow's Cox Plate.

"I can't believewhat they're saying in the papers here, they're completely getting away from the obvious - we can win the Cox Plate, all right."

Even allowing for Boss' famous self-confidence, you could detect between the words that he is confident of picking up another Cox Plate. Australian punters and bookmakers don't greatly share that opinion - despite winning all three starts in Australia this preparation,

Ocean Park is a loose third favourite for one of the world's greatest races at $7 and you can even get as much as $2.40 for him to run 1-2-3.

Most New Zealanders, justifiably impressed with his Australian form, will be staggered if he doesn't run in the first three.

Also interesting is that Sydney colt Pierro is the $3.80 favourite despite being beaten in the Caulfield Guineas by Black Caviar's little brother All Too Hard.

When 3-year-olds can be rated close to the best horse in Australasia they have been difficult to beat in the Cox Plate. When they're not, they've been soundly beaten.

Pierro is not the best horse around, not even close. Green Moon is second favourite at $5.

Much of the "set" against Ocean Park appears to come from the general feeling that the New Zealander was not particularly impressive galloping with smart mare Yosei at Tuesday's Breakfast With The Best at Moonee Valley.

Boss scoffed. "He's so relaxed when he works. But he comes out on raceday and he's a different horse.

"If he'd suddenly worked with the 'wow' factor at Moonee Valley, quite frankly I'd be worried, because you'd be thinking: 'Something's changed'.

Ocean Park is a long way from being in the same class as Boss' two previous Cox Plate winners, Makybe Diva and So You Think, but so are the others in the race.

"My horse has more ticks to his name than most of them," says Boss.

"He's a group one winner, he's a weight-for-age winner and the distance (2040m) is perfect for him."

Two facts were clear about Boss' ride on Ocean Park when winning the Caulfield Stakes last start. Ocean Park wobbled around the Caulfield home turn and Boss allowed him time to balance up. Then he extracted only just enough out of the horse to win.

He did not want Ocean Park to extend right out in his final lead-up. Cox Plates are dog fights and nothing suits Ocean Park better. He will sprint quickly when the speed goes on passing the 500m as it does every year and he will grapple with any in this field from the home bend.

Uncharacteristically, Boss was prepared to have a crack at one of his rivals - Pierro.

"You can be wrong about these things, but he [Pierro] had a gut-buster when beaten in the Caulfield Guineas.

Gai [Waterhouse] is a great trainer, but it can sometimes be difficult to get these horses back up.

"I rate Green Moon as the biggest danger."

- NZ Herald

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