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Cairns Preview: 1st March 2024

3 minute read

Bargain buy Ocean Emperor will take a crucial step towards the North Queensland winter carnival sprints if he maintains his unblemished record for the Tom Button stable at Cairns on Friday.

Button, paid a paltry $8,000 for Ocean Emperor when put up for sale on Inglis digital and has won his only two starts for his new trainer.

In the process, Ocean Emperor has collected more than $23,000 in prizemoney almost three times the outlay for Button who races the son of Written Tycoon.

"His previous trainer Kerrod Smith gave a big wrap for him when I thought about buying him and he's been a great buy now," Button said.

"If you look back through his form he's had good form in Brisbane before he was sent up this way.

"He won his first start at Bowen in a Class Six then he won another Class Six and won very well in Townsville last time."

Ocean Emperor's latest win claimed the scalp of the highly promising Demon Award who had won three of his previous four starts for Townsville trainer Les Gordy.

Gordy is hoping Demon Award can measure up to the Cleveland Bay Handicap in Townsville during the winter so Button hasn't rule out a shot at the Cluden Park feature himself.

"He's in open company now and has a high enough rating to get into the Cleveland Bay," Button said.

"But it's still a preparation away and a lot of water has to go under the bridge first.

"I'll see how he's travelling at the time but there's other good sprints around that time of the year like the Cairns and Mackay Newmarkets."

Button made a late call to run Ocean Emperor in the Open Handicap over 1250 metres.

"When I saw the nominations I thought it would be a suitable race for him so I threw in a late nom," Button said.

"He's won both his races for Gabrielle Semmens so she's staying on him tomorrow."

Button rates the Stephen Massingham-trained Battle Cry as the main threat to Ocean Emperor completing a hat-trick of wins.

"Tiger Legend was a late nomination and I'm glad he didn't accept," Button said.

"It's a hard little race with several chances but Battle Cry is racing well and looks the danger."

Battle Cry looks to be close to a win following seconds at his past two starts including his latest behind He's Xceptional in a 1400-metre Open at Townsville on February 20.

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