Southern Ocean sails to stakes success at Riccarton

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Southern Ocean

Promising South Island stayer Southern Ocean showed he is on target for his tilt at the Group 3 Martin Collins New Zealand Cup (3200m) in three weeks when he took out the Listed Sothys Spring Classic (2000m) at Riccarton.

The lightly raced son of Ocean Park was having just his ninth raceday start on Saturday and emulated the deeds of his dam Viana, who took out the 2013 edition of the race as one of her five career victories.

The Terri Rae-trained Southern Ocean started a warm +280 favourite in an even field, after being narrowly beaten by race rival Dee And Gee over the same distance earlier in the month.

Forced to travel three-wide for most of the race, rider Lisa Allpress didn’t panic as she had Southern Ocean travelling kindly as the pair loomed into contention approaching the long run home at Riccarton.

Southern Ocean joined issue with eventual runner-up El Gladiador at the 200m before forging to a half-length lead, which he maintained to the winning post, with Dee And Gee steaming home late to take third.

Rae had been expecting an improved showing from her charge today after his trackwork during the week had been pleasing.

“We thought he could possibly go one better today as his work has been good after settling into the new synthetic track we now have at Riccarton,” she said.

“He has an excellent record for a lightly-raced horse and he showed again today just what a promising stayer he is.

“It’s funny as when he was getting ready for his first start at this time last year he had won three trials over 1000m, so we knew he could gallop, but his future is as a stayer and that’s where he will make his mark.”

Rae will now concentrate on getting Southern Ocean to the New Zealand Cup, with his final lead-up likely to be in the Listed Nautical Boat Insurance Metropolitan Trophy (2500m) at Riccarton on November 6.

“The New Zealand Cup is his target so he will probably have a start in the Metropolitan Trophy to put the finishing touches on him,” Rae said.

“Both races are on his home patch so there is no travelling involved, which is good as he is still not the finished product yet.

“There will be a few targets after Cup Week, but we are yet to decide on them.”

“Now he has strengthened up some more, I’d like to think we could travel him a little more later in this campaign.”

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