"Scary fast" Ohoka Connor goes three from three

by Jonny Turner

Jonny Cox paid Ohoka Connor an incredible compliment after the pair combined to win yesterday’s Southern Supremacy Stakes Series heat at Oamaru.

It was the unbeaten three-year-old's third win in as many starts, following on from victories at Addington and Winton.

Both Ohoka Connor and his stablemate Sweet Diamond scored decisive victories which massively boosted their hopes of qualifying for the Southern Supremacy Stakes and Southern Oaks Finals.

When asked which of the pair was the better winner, driver Jonny Cox admitted he found it hard to split them.

“It is hard to say – Sweet Diamond sat parked and won in a track record time, whereas Ohoka Connor didn’t do as much work but he won very impressively.”

“They are both just really nice horses.”

A sedate tempo in the middle stages and subsequent sprint home could have left Ohoka Connor vulnerable in his Southern Supremacy Stakes assignment.

But the three-year-old proved he was far from susceptible when charging home to score a stylish victory.

Ohoka Connor was described by Cox as ‘scary fast’ which is a massive compliment considering the reinsman has driven his share of outstanding horses including New Zealand Pacer Of The Year Self Assured.

“He is probably scary fast, we went to go and I asked him, then I had to ask him again and I think he went from third to fifth in an instant.”

When quizzed on whether Ohoka Connor was a potential top-liner, Cox said the horse is on a one way path to competing with New Zealand’s best three-year-olds.

“I think he has still got a lot to learn, that learning is going to take him a long way.”

“It is a big step up to horses like Don’t Stop Dreaming and Merlin but he will be in those good races racing against them.”

Sweet Diamond had to sit parked for much of her Southland Oaks heat before holding off her rivals with ease.

The filly raced right up the kind of form she produced when fourth at Group One level behind unbeaten sensation Millwood Nike.

“She chased Millwood Nike around last year and never disgraced herself,” Cox said.

“The fillies today weren’t of that class.”

“She sat parked but she relaxed really well and she really knuckled down in the home straight ...... she went super.”

Cox produced his double in qualifiers for Southland’s signature three-year-old features soon after taking up a position with Stonewall Stud’s trainers Steve and Amanda Telfer and Hayden Cullen.

Cox said he was excited to join the Stonewall team and was hoping he can contribute to the success of the powerful stable following their outstanding 2022 season.

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