The king … Glen Boss and Ocean Park lead them home at Moonee Valley yesterday. Photo: Mal Fairclough
GLEN BOSS broke free of the microphones and well-wishers' hands being thrust in his face, darted back onto the Moonee Valley track and ran whooping and hollering along the rail, high-fiving racegoers who clambered to reach out and touch a piece of history. The Boss Man was back and happy to shout about it.
''This is what they come here for - they come here for a party, and that's what I'm gunna give 'em!'' Boss said, finally calming down to merely borderline hysterical but keen to sing his praises of Ocean Park, which now sits alongside the greats Makybe Diva and So You Think as a Cox Plate winner with (G.Boss) next to its name.
''I just feel very vindicated - I've always loved this colt,'' Boss said, just warming up. ''Everyone who wanted to hear about this colt, I would tell them, 'He's the horse.'''
This time last year, Boss was nursing a shoulder injury that torpedoed his entire spring carnival, and he watched Craig Williams ride the horse he was booked for to Cox Plate glory. Things happen for a reason in life, he reflected yesterday, doubting he'd have ridden Pinker Pinker as well as Williams did anyway.
This most ebullient of horsemen has Makybe Diva's three Melbourne Cups to sit alongside his trio of Cox Plates, yet rated this as probably his greatest achievement in the sport. He heard the doubters but knew he was on a horse that lives and breathes to run down every rival in front of him.
''He's a winner,'' Boss said, a statement that now brooks no argument after Ocean Park became the first horse to complete a haul of four consecutive group 1 wins with a Cox Plate triumph. It was a win for New Zealand as well, with Boss praising Matamata trainer Gary Hennessy for his shared conviction. They make an odd couple - the jockey who can't stop talking and the trainer who barely utters a word. But they also make a hell of a team.
''Gary's just a humble guy, he doesn't say much, just goes about his business,'' Boss said. ''He's a horseman. He's just like me in that respect … obviously I'm more amped up than Gary is.''
Boss slotted Ocean Park in behind Williams on Green Moon near the rear of the field, as Gai Waterhouse's third newsmaker along with Pierro and Proisir, More Joyous, charged forward from the car park-friendly barrier the trainer had chosen for her, famously stretching a long friendship with owner John Singleton.
When Williams asked Green Moon for something 800 metres from home and got no response, Boss thought, ''Well, I'll pop out here and get going''. The ease of his mount's acceleration emboldened him and Hennessy started ''riding him as hard as Glen'' 400m out.
Rounding the turn into Moonee Valley's treacherously short straight, Boss felt Ocean Park catch sight of ''the bunny'' out in front, All Too Hard, and surge again. His journey back to scale was a deliciously long, slow reminder of how good it feels to win the big ones.
''It's very difficult to describe - every sinew in your body is on fire,'' he said. ''This is such a great racetrack to be on, such a great amphitheatre. The crowd get behind you and you can feel them. My body was just like a volcano inside.''
Waterhouse's spring carnival of dashed expectations continued, with Pierro finishing third behind All Too Hard, Proisir eighth and More Joyous 11th from barrier 11. ''They all ran well but they didn't run as I'd have liked - one, two, three,'' she said. Her assessment that More Joyous got caught wide would not have helped Singleton's state of mind.
There was no darkening Boss's mood, although he briefly fought back tears when thinking of arriving home to wife Sloane and their two children. He'd shaken his head as Ocean Park roared past the finish post, and explained this quirky trademark as disbelief. ''I just can't believe I'm here sometimes - just an uneducated boofhead who didn't finish grade 10.''
Hennessy was glad he was. ''I had a champion jockey on,'' he said. ''He's not the boss, he is the king!''