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Thorn Park Kiwis Star at Australian Horse of the Year Awards

Thorn Park Kiwis Star at Australian Horse of the Year Awards

New Zealand gallopers Ocean Park (NZ) (Thorn Park) and Norzita (NZ) (Thorn Park) were awarded highest honours at the Australian Racehorse of the Year Awards last night, taking out the Monjon Australia Champion Middle Distance Award and the New Zealand Bloodstock Champion Three-Year-Old Filly respectively.

The pair have common traits, both being bred and raised in New Zealand by Windsor Park Stud’s sire Thorn Park and both sold at New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sale Series.

The premature loss of Thorn Park in 2012 is continuing to be felt by the New Zealand racing industry with the sire leaving a big impression in his short stud career. With 18 Group 1 wins from just seven crops to race, he was the only sire on last night’s programme to claim two individual Award winners.

Ocean Park was a comprehensive winner of the Champion Middle Distance Award, gaining 226 votes with his nearest rival receiving only 99 votes. The accolade was earned following a spring campaign that saw him win four consecutive Group 1 races, three in Australia.

The Gary Hennessy trained horse started his campaign with victory in the Group 1 Makfi Challenge Stakes in New Zealand before heading across the Tasman on a Cox Plate mission. The Thorn Park entire struck immediate success in Australia, taking out the Group 1 Underwood Stakes at Caulfield.

The then four-year-old returned to the same racecourse for the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes and was again triumphant. In winning the Underwood Stakes/Caulfield Stakes double he was also the winner of the New Zealand Bloodstock Spring WFA Championship at Caulfield.

Ocean Park then added the supreme weight-for-age contest of Australia with his success in the Group 1 Cox Plate. He became the fifth horse of all time to complete the Underwood Stakes/Caulfield Stakes/Cox Plate treble and joins an elite group that includes fellow Kiwi So You Think.

Ocean Park also finished third in the Group 1 McKinnon Stakes after the Cox Plate victory, before returning to New Zealand in the summer. He earned another Group 1 victory in the New Zealand Stakes before embarking on a trip to Dubai which unfortunately lead to his retirement due to injury.

The winner of five Group 1 races in his career, Ocean Park was trained in Matamata by part-owner Gary Hennessy who shared in the ownership with Mr A K K Wong and Mr S S Y Yan and earned A$2.6 million last season. He was bred by Trelawney Stud who sold him at the 2010 Karaka Select Sale for $150,000 when knocked down to the bid of Gary Hennessy.

Already crowned New Zealand’s Horse of the Year for last season, Ocean Park is currently serving his first crop of mares in New Zealand where he stands at Waikato Stud.

The New Zealand Bloodstock Champion Three-Year-Old Filly was fittingly won by a graduate of the sponsor’s Karaka Premier Sale with Norzita completing a notable double for her sire Thorn Park.

The filly, trained by the legendary Bart Cummings, picked up 163 votes in the closest category of the evening. She earned the Award on the back of her two Group 1 wins last season, the only three-year-old filly to win two Group 1 races.

Norzita won three races in her three-year-old campaign with her first stakes victory coming when she defeated a quality field of fillies in the Group 1 Flight Stakes. Among the beaten horses that day was Dear Demi, the runner-up to Norzita in the Champion Three-Year-Old Filly Award.

The NZ-bred filly was spelled after her Group 1 success and returned in the new year with a win in the Listed Typhoon Tracy Stakes in Melbourne. Her autumn campaign saw her finish in the top three in all of her five starts. She ran second in the Group 2 Kewney Stakes before finishing third at weight-for-age level against older mares in the Group 1 Coolmore Classic.

Norzita claimed her second Group 1 of the season in the Group 1 Storm Queen Stakes as she stepped up to 2000m for the first time in her career. The filly then took on all-comers in the Group 1 Doncaster Handicap, finishing a valiant third behind fellow New Zealand-bred galloper Sacred Falls.

Norzita was bought at the 2011 Karaka Premier Sale for $200,000 by Duncan Ramage’s DGR Thoroughbred Services from Windsor Park Stud and earned over A$900,000 in her three-year-old campaign for her owners Dato Tan Chin Nam and Westcode Pty Ltd.

Thorn Park’s stakes success is still flowing, adding a new black-type winner last weekend through Sacred Park. Four Lots from his penultimate crop have been catalogued at the upcoming NZB Ready to Run Sale and his last crop of yearlings will be offered at the National Yearling Sales Series at Karaka in January 2014.


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