Smart colt Ocean Knight (Ocean Park x The
Iffraaj Dame) will have another chance to repay Lindsay Park for its patience
in Wednesday’s Listed Anzac Day Stakes (1400m) at Flemington.
Ocean Knight was a $115,000 yearling buy
from Trelawney Stud’s 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock Draft that has always shown
trainers David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig plenty of promise in between
bouts of growing pains.
“He just needed time,” Ben Hayes said.
“He kept going a bit shinny and we kept
putting him out and bringing him in.”
The wait was worth it for connections after
Ocean Knight steamrolled his opposition on debut at Caulfield, coming from the
back to score at the good odds of $8.50.
It is unlikely Ocean Knight will be
anywhere near those odds on Wednesday but a strong showing will augur well for
a good spring thee-year-old season for the son of Ocean Park.
Merchant Navy won last year’s edition of
the Anzac Day Stakes before returning to win the Gr.1 Coolmore Stud Stakes
(1200m) in the spring while Long John won the race in 2013 before winning the
Caulfield Guineas later that year.
The training trio could have similar hopes
for Ocean Knight in the spring.
“He was super impressive and really going
well. We think he’s a good horse,” Hayes said.
“He’s a good back-end two-year-old and will
be a really nice three-year-old.”
However, the younger Hayes all but ruled
out a trip to Brisbane for the Gr.2 JJ Atkins (1600m) in June.
“I think, most likely, we’d back off him
(after Wednesday),” Hayes said.
“We’ve never really targeted Brisbane in
the past so we’ll give him a break and train him up for the spring.
“We find it hard, if we go to Brisbane, to
get them up for the spring.”
Regan Bayliss will ride Ocean Knight in the
Anzac Day Stakes (1400m). The colt has drawn perfectly in barrier two. -racenet.com.au