Oceanex has qualified for the Melbourne Cup and a group of sports club mates are riding the wave

For every oil-rich Sheikh or high-flying banker who has had a Melbourne Cup runner, there’s a story like the lads and ladies from the Bonbeach Sports Club who can complete a remarkable Cup dream.

The syndicate of 29 Bonbeach members, mainly made up of mums and dads, who all chipped in to fork out about $4000 in total for a small share in $70,000 purchase Oceanex.

There’s been no footy, cricket or netball being played during the pandemic but the motley crew from Bonbeach, 30km south-east from Melbourne’s CBD, struck gold when Oceanex won a Melbourne Cup ticket by claiming the Andrew Ramsden in May.

What started as a bit of fun between mates – and a way to raise a few extra dollars for club renovations and upkeep – is now the ultimate Melbourne Cup dream and potential rags to riches fairy-tale.

Club stalwart Stephen ‘Cocky’ Cochrane explains.

“Going back a while ago the Bonbeach Sports Club got approval from the council to renovate and upgrade our clubrooms,“ Cochrane says.

“A lot of people follow the horses in our club and we thought how good would it be if we could start up a Racing Club and sell shares where we would own a few horses and then donate some of the prize money from those horses back to the club.

“There was virtually no income coming in through the clubrooms at the time so we needed money to help pay running costs for the clubrooms for the utilities, the gas and electricity and stuff.

“Mick Price is a sponsor of our club so we wanted to show a bit of support for Mick as well.

“The first horse we bought a small share in was Oceanex.”

Stephen Cochrane (grey sweater, blue shorts) with his group of mates and mums and dads from the Bonbeach Sports Club that are living the Melbourne Cup dream with Oceanex.Source:Supplied

Quite a few of the Bonbeach syndicate members have owned shares in horses before but they were mostly slow ones.

The Oceanex story didn’t start with much promise – she ran last of four in a trial at Geelong in January 2018.

But as her experience and the distances increased the New Zealand-bred daughter of 2012 Cox Plate winner Ocean Park started to thrive.

Cochrane, who has five kids who play junior sport at the Bonbeach club, says it was an odd experience qualifying for the Melbourne Cup given the COVID pandemic had struck and the big group couldn’t be on track or even watch the race together.

“It was so exciting that we qualified for the Melbourne Cup, but we couldn’t celebrate as a group,” Cochrane said.

“We haven’t been able to be at the club and the last time we were all able to get together as a group was when she won the Matriarch Stakes at Flemington last November.

“There were about 30 of us at the track that day and they all came back to my house and we had a party.”

The Bonbeach experience shows you don’t have to be Sheikh Mohammed to live the Melbourne Cup dream.

“There and mums and dads and kids and grandparents involved,” Cochrane says.

“We got together just to have a bit of fun.

“You simply couldn’t buy the experience we have had.”

Oceanex’s trainer Mick Price. Pic: Steve Holland.Source:News Corp Australia

Price, who now co-trains with Michael Kent Jr, hopes Oceanex can surge to a surprise Melbourne Cup victory and be a life-changer for the good folk at Bonbeach.

“I enjoy my local footy and it would be life changing for a lot of those people if Oceanex could win,” Price said.

“The beauty of Australian racing is that you can take a share in a horse and be treated as an individual.

“Even if you take a five percent share, it doesn’t feel like five percent.”

Knowing they are safely in the Melbourne Cup, the spring preparation so far for Oceanex has all been about warming up and then trying to peak on the first Tuesday in November.

Oceanex is a $67 Melbourne Cup roughie and it would be a surprise if she could win the big dance, but stranger things have happened before. Price Of Penzance was $101 when he famously won Michelle Payne’s Melbourne Cup in 2015.

There were some nervous moments with the mare in the week before the Cup when she had a minor lameness issue but her trainers changed her shoes and Racing Victoria vets were content to declare her fit for Tuesday’s great race.

Originally published asSports clubs mates live the Melbourne Cup dream

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