Boss in charge at Spring opener

Underwood Stakes success highlight of another feature treble for Glen Boss

Big-race specialist Glen Boss celebrated the official arrival of the 2012 Spring Racing Carnival in trademark style, celebrating his second straight Saturday treble, including the first Victorian Group 1 of the season.

The champion jockey, fresh off a winning treble at Moonee Valley last week, teamed with classy Kiwi raider Ocean Park to win the $400,000 Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield.

It was the middle pin of Boss’s three successes, earlier winning aboard Victoria Derby-bound colt Hvasstan and rounding out the day with a Group 3 win on the Peter Snowden-trained Detours in the second heat of the Sportingbet Sprint Series.

The treble came just a day short of the one-year anniversary of the trackwork fall that ended his 2011 Spring and increased the 43-year-old’s desire for further feature-race success.

Ocean Park, who boss partnered to a narrow second placing in the Rosehill Guineas in April, rocketed up betting charts for the $3 million Sportingbet Cox Plate and is now the $6 second favourite behind Pierro ($5) with the TAB.

“He’s got an electric turn of foot, that’s what he showed me that day at Rosehill, and I know immediately when I get on a good horse and he gave me that feel that he’s a genuine superstar,” Boss said of Ocean Park.

“We’ll have to obviously sit down with Gary and map out where he goes from here to get to the Cox Plate, but at this stage that’s where I’d imagine they’ll be heading.”

Hennessy confirmed after the race that was where the entire, who made it back-to-back Underwood wins for New Zealand four-year-olds following last year’s success by Lion Tamer, was heading.

Like Lion Tamer, Ocean Park came through the Group 1 Makfi Challenge at Hastings – which he won – and Hennessy said it was a massive thrill to celebrate Group 1 success in Melbourne.

“He’s pretty special and he’s been a bit freakish all the way along,” Hennessy said. “He’s got a great turn of foot and it’s exciting to come over here and win a Group 1.”

After settling three horses back along the fence, Boss edged away at the 500m but was pushed back towards the inside in a manoeuvre that proved a winner.

The entire trailed up Voila Ici, who shot clear soon after straightening, before popping off the inside at the 200m to set out after the leader. After claiming the lead 50m from home, the $8 chance edged clear to score by a neck from the Peter Moody-trained import, who started at $31.

December Draw ($20), who raced outside Voila Ici, showed the benefit of his first-up run in the Makybe Diva Stakes to stick on for third, a further length away.

Voila Ici’s stablemate and heavily backed favourite Manighar (sixth), who opened at $3.40 on Wednesday before starting even money, enjoyed a dream run just off the pace but only battled in the straight, as did Sincero (fifth).

There were some impressive efforts outside the placegetter, none more so reigning BMW Caulfield Cup champion Southern Speed, who flashed home to finish fourth, while Zabeelionaire (seventh) hit the line well as did American import Winchester (ninth).


By Brad Bishop

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