OCEAN BILLY COULD BE CUP MAVERICK

Jockey Damien Thornton has only two Group 1 victories to his name but he has no idea if he’ll be picking up his third in the Caulfield Cup on Saturday when he partners with Kiwi runner Ocean Billy to tackle the 2400m show piece

Ocean Billy ridden in the Caulifeld Cup by Damien Thornton

Thornton was able to pick up his second Group 1 title on Wednesday when he rode Hawkes Racing trained Yearning to victory in the Thousand Guineas at Caulfield and now Chris Waller has handed him another start in Saturday’s Caulfield Cup.

Waller has given Thornton starts in the past when winning his maiden Group 1 title aboard Toffee Tongue in the Australasian Oaks in Adelaide and now he gets his chance to demonstrate his skills again aboard Ocean Billy.

Ocean Billy arrived at Wallers stable after winning the 3200m Auckland Cup however Thornton admits he doesn’t know how the Kiwi import will go when trying to line up NZ form against Aussie Group 1s. 


“All I know is that he’s won a two-mile Group 1 (race) in New Zealand,” Thornton said.

“I worked him on Tuesday and he seemed to work well on the course proper at Flemington.

“To be honest, I don’t know what he’ll do.”

The bookies at the moment don’t seem phased by Ocean Billy’s form however the punters have decided there could be something there and specked the Kiwi from $101 into $81.

Thornton did pick up an early win before the race when Ocean Billy drew barrier 7 for the Caulfield Cup but he admits he really doesn’t know how the New Zealander will go.

“The trip will be fine and wet tracks don’t worry New Zealand horses because they’re just such tough horses,” Thornton said.

“We’ll get a good guide on him on Saturday for the Melbourne Cup.

“He’ll probably be silly odds but whether he should be those odds, I suppose we’ll find out after the race.”

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