x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Unfit Ocean Park out of Royal Ascot after drubbing on Dubai World Cup night

But Godolphin's Sajjhaa, who beat Australian colt in the Dubai Duty Free race, could run in York.

Ocean Park ran a poor race on World Cup night at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai on Saturday and was still hot in the foreleg the morning after. Jake Badger for The National
Ocean Park ran a poor race on World Cup night at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai on Saturday and was still hot in the foreleg the morning after. Jake Badger for The National

Ocean Park's disappointing run at Meydan Racecourse on Saturday has put a halt to plans to campaign the Australasian colt in Europe this summer.

Ocean Park came to Dubai with a huge reputation after winning Australia's Cox Plate, the country's most prestigious all-aged championship. Trained by Gary Hennessy, the five year old beat only two home in the Dubai Duty Free, won by Godolphin's Sajjhaa in record time under Silvestre De Sousa on Dubai World Cup night.

Hennessy had enlisted the help of Johnny Murtagh, the jockey who rode on Saturday and who had mapped out races such as the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.

Murtagh reported after the race that his mount failed to pick up when the field quickened, and although Hennessy had used a similar compression suit to that made famous by Black Caviar last summer he blamed the travel on his charge's limp effort.

"He raced 10 kilos under his last winning weight. The travel showed up in his lack of energy in the whole race," Hennessy told New Zealand Racing.

Hennessy found heat in Ocean Park's foreleg on the morning after the race and after consulting with vets decided to ship for New Zealand where the horse will given a layoff until further notice.

"Our plans beyond that will be either a return to Australia in the spring for another Cox Plate or whether he goes to stud, but that has yet to be talked over with my part-owners," Hennessy added.

Sajjhaa could be stepped up from the 1,800 metres of the Dubai Duty Free to the 2,100m of the Middleton Stakes at York next month.

The Middleton Stakes is a Group 2 contest so Sajjhaa would be required to carry a 5lb penalty for her brace of Group 1 success in Dubai, which include the Jebel Hatta on Super Saturday.

Godolphin last won the Middleton Stakes, staged on May 16, in 2004 when Crimson Palace triumphed under Frankie Dettori having finished fourth in the Dubai Duty Free.

"It was a great performance," De Sousa, who has been in action in England at Kempton for the past two days, said.

"She is four from four in Dubai and she's very tough and genuine."

Other prominent World Cup night performers that could be in action at York's three-day Dante meeting include Secret Number, who was third for Saeed bin Suroor and De Sousa in the UAE Derby behind Lines Of Battle.

Secret Number could line up in the Group 2 Dante Stakes on May 16 alongside Mahmoud Al Zarooni's Steeler, who remained in England during the winter.

Secret Number covered two metres more than Lines Of Battle during the UAE Derby and Bin Suroor mentioned before the race that the son of Raven's Pass could be a middle distance horse in Europe this summer.

The Dante is a key trial for the English Derby, run in June, and De Sousa highlighted that his mount's ability to stay was the main factor in finishing in the places on Saturday.

"He missed the break," the jockey said. "I was further back than I wanted to be. I had to come wide and then he ran on well but it wasn't his day."

Mental could join Soul in the Duke Of York Stakes, which is staged the day before the Middleton. Mental was only tenth to Reynaldothewizard in the Dubai Golden Shaheen having won the Mahab Al Shimaal on Super Saturday.

Other horses to be nominated by Godolphin include Encke and Farhh. Encke won last season's English St Leger under Mickael Barzalona from Camelot and could make his seasonal bow in the Group 1 Coronation Cup at Epsom's Derby meeting in June.

Encke, trained by Al Zarooni, could run alongside Masterstroke, who was withdrawn in the build-up to World Cup night due to a stalls accident.

Farhh, who chased home Frankel twice last season, could start his European season in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on May 18.

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