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Alcopop's deserving win

Alcopop, so often the bridesmaid in Group 1 races, achieved his reward when he won the $1 million Mackinnon Stakes on Derby Day at Flemington.

The eight year old gelding deserved his win after finishing second to Ocean Park in the Caulfield Stakes ,then was narrowly beaten in the Caulfield Cup by Dunaden.

The gelding is unlikely to race again this spring, while others may continue onto the final day, he will be heading back to Victor Harbor, to a warm welcome from the locals where he has a cult following. 

The imported grey, Glass Harmonium, who was out to repeat his win in the race of last year, made sure there was going to be no loafing, he set up a solid pace from the outset, he was still eight lengths in front coming to the final turn

Ocean Park, the weight for age find of the spring, and the odds on favourite, didn't finish the race off like he had previously, when his races had been spaced two weeks apart leading into the Cox Plate

The quick back up may not have suited him, he did have a hard run in the Cox Plate, he peaked on the day and is another that is likely to go for a rest 

It doesn't look as if December Draw is going to recapture the form of 12 months ago, he wilted badly in the Caulfield Cup two weeks ago, and didn't perform much better in the Mackinnon Stakes.


Damien's Derby

Damian Oliver was seen at his best in winning the Victoria Derby on Fiveandahalfstar, who was not seen as a serious contender, except for those close to the stable

 Whilst he went into the classic as a winner, at his two starts over staying trips, one a Maiden and the other a BM 72, against a mere handfull of runners, there were no signs about reading, please back me .

As a result the gelding was unwanted in betting proceedings at $41.00, and there were not too many takers about at those odds either .

Oliver had Fiveandahalfstar parked right behind the leader Jimando, who was cutting out a merry pace, Super Cool was keeping in touch, while It's A Dundeel was so far back he would have needed the assistance of a cab to have had any chance.

 James McDonald again allowed the colt to drop too far out of his ground, whether he has trained off from being up too long is hard to say, punters didn't get much of a run from the favourite.

 It's A Dundeel will now be spelled and return to Sydney for the Australian Derby at Randwick, no doubt Fiveandahalfstar will follow the same pattern, it is difficult to say, the attrition rate between the Melbourne spring and the Sydney autumn can be high.

 Super Cool ran right up to his win in the Vase at Moonee Valley, he held his position for the entire journey, never giving up at any stage, he is bound to become a better horse in the autumn, with his mission likely to be the Australian Guineas on his home track, Flemington.

 The win of Fiveandahalfstar was a bonus for Anthony Cummings, he bred the gelding and also trained his sire, Hotel Grand, among the finest sires you would wish to see.


Ocean Park’s Cox Plate Win

Weight for age form, for weight for age racing, an old adage that has stood the test of time, was reignited with the win of Ocean Park in the Sportingbet Cox Plate, at Moonee Valley on Saturday.

He was always going to be the horse to beat going into the race, having won at his last three starts in Group 1 company under the weight for age scale.

His trainer, Gary Hennessy, had set his horse for the race, this was the one that was pencilled in, everything was going to plan, the Underwood Stakes then the Caulfield Stakes two weeks apart, then the same time span to the Cox Plate.

Hennessy was playing his cards close to his chest, as most New Zealanders do, he was giving nothing away, he didn’t have to, his confidence was riding high after Glen Boss accepted the ride.

Boss had previously won the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes on Happy Trails, believing the gelding would not get much further than 1600 metres, therefore he was prepared to wait a bit longer before making a final decision about a ride.

Cox Plate Ocean Park G Boss GAZ 5348 Custom

Ocean Park on the outside getting the better of All Too Hard.

After winning the Underwood on Ocean Park the decision was a foregone conclusion, this would be his mount in the Cox Plate, it was sealed on the spot.

The Cox Plate has always proved a great race, its honour board is ample proof of that, more often than not it is won by the best horse in the race, this year it was Ocean Park.

Whilst he was the form horse of the race, the betting did not indicate that as Green Moon and Pierro were preferred to the winner in the market.

Happy Trails was first out of the gate, Proisir coming over quickly; More Joyous went up sharply going to the winning post the first time, Ethiopia got to the front at one stage on the side of the course.

Proisir took the field along the back of the track, Ethiopia was still there, All Too Hard was also prominentm as was More Joyous , Happy Trails,  Pierro with Green Moon closer up than Ocean Park.

When Proisir  punctured, as did More Joyous, coming towards the turn, All Too Hard loomed up quickly, as did Ethiopia , Ocean Park was running on under hard riding from Boss, the favourite, Green Moon, was merely plodding,  Sincero was doing little, nor was Southern Speed, or  Rekindle Interest, he was never in the hunt, finishing last.     

All Too Hard was being hailed the winner at the home turn, he almost had the race to himself, while Ocean Park was finishing well he never looked like overhauling the leader until about 50 metres from the winning post.

It was Boss at his best, he rode furiously on a horse that was never going to give in, he responded to every push of his rider.

Glen Boss was a touch emotional after the race, explaining the win was among the highlights of his career of which there have been many, he picked  Ocean Park out in Sydney during the autumn, and was lucky enough to secure the ride on him in the spring.

Gary Hennessy was singing the praises of the rider saying, “we had a champion on, he is not the boss he is the king, this is a great horse as well, he has now won four Group 1 races, we knew he would never give up, that is how he won the Rosehill Guineas “

John Hawkes was pleased with his three year old, All Too Hard, it was a huge run taking a good horse to beat him, he could easily become the weight for age star in the autumn.

The other three year old, Pierro, the favourite up until race day, ran well but may be better off restricted to sprint races up to 1400 metres, as for More Joyous, as game as they come, it may be time now to go to the paddock, she is a six year old mare, they don’t get any better at that age. 

Cox Plate Boss  Hennessy GAZ 5839 Custom

The Winning Team - Glen Boss and Gary Hennessy



Super Cool too sharp for Derby favourite

Super Cool has emerged as a definite Derby prospect after defeating the odds on favourite, It’s A Dundeel, in the Mitchelton Wines Vase at Moonee Valley.

The result was quite a surprise and puts a bit of vim into the classic which was looking a pretty dull affair, with many prepared to hand the race, on a plate, to the unbeaten New Zealand colt.

Murray Baker, trainer of It’s A Dundeel, was in two minds, if he would run or not, there was always a doubt about the tighter Moonee Valley track, while on the other hand, the colt had not raced for a month.

It came down to a flip of the coin decision, which in some respect dented the reputation of the colt, but the trainer was between a rock and a hard place.

Mark Kavanagh was impressed with the run of Super Cool, but not sure whether he will get the extra ground on the big Flemington track, that view was also shared by his jockey, Michael Rodd.

The same goes for It’s A Dundeel, he won the Champion Stakes at 2000 metres, he goes into the Derby having won six races, whereas Super Cool’s only win was at Seymour, his latest effort was encouraging in finishing second to Ava’s Delight at Caulfield.  

Mitchelton Vase Super Cool M Rodd GAZ 4675 Custom

Super Cool winning the Mitchelton Wines Vase



The farcical pace of the Geelong Cup did nothing for Exceptionally in her effort to qualify for a start in the Melbourne Cup.

With time running out, and options drying up, the last roll of the dice is the Lexus Stakes, on Derby Day, over 2500 metres.

Exceptionally needs to win the Lexus Stakes to be assured of a start in the Cup, she is currently 41 in order of entry, second declarations will be taken on Monday, at 10am, for the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday week.

Racing Victoria’s chief handicapper, Greg Carpenter, has announced 1 kg  penalty for the Geelong Cup winner Gatewood, he will now carry 52.5kg in the Melbourne Cup, moving up from 41 to 36 in order of entry. 


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