2016 Manfred Stakes First-Up for Bon Aurum

Ciaron Maher’s returning Australian Guineas hope Bon Aurum will kick off his Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival campaign this weekend at Caulfield Racecourse in the Manfred Stakes 2016.

Bon Aurum

2016 Australian Guineas-bound Bon Aurum runs first-up in Caulfield’s Manfred Stakes this weekend in Melbourne. Photo: Ultimate Racing Photos.

One of two features on the Caulfield card for Saturday, this year’s $150,000 Group 3 Manfred Stakes (1200m) attracted a bumper 20 nominations including Price’s Bon Hoffa colt Bon Aurum.

Winner of the Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) last September, the galloper hasn’t raced since his ninth to Press Statement in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) in October.

He was found to have a bone chip in his knee after that on-paper disappointing elite level effort, but has come through his subsequent operation and made a nice recovery ahead of the autumn according to Maher.

“He’s had a preparation down on the beach at Warrnambool with (trainer) Matthew Williams and he’s looks as though he’s come back in good order,” Maher told Racing Victoria.

“He had a bone chip removed following the spring so we’ve been pretty mindful of his weight and keeping it in check so that we don’t put any more pressure on him than we need to.”

While happy with where the horse is at Maher knows Bon Aurum will be far from peak fitness first-up as he tracks towards his major aim – the $750,000 Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 5.

“His goal is the Guineas so he’ll take a fair bit of improvement out of his first-up run,” Maher, who chases his maiden win in the Australian Guineas, said.

Ahead of the Manfred Stakes Maher put Bon Aurum through his paces with a Tuesday morning jump-out over 800m at Caulfield where he ran fourth behind impressive Kilmore winner by four and a half lengths on debut in December, the Luke Oliver-trained filly Black Diamond Girl.

Current all-in Australian Guineas odds at Ladbrokes.com.au have undefeated Kingston Town Classic winning filly Perfect Reflection, now prepared in Victoria by Melbourne Cup winning trainer Darren Weir, as the $7 top fancy.

Bon Aurum can be found further down the futures Australian Guineas betting markets at a current quote of $26, which is sure to shorten should he put in an impressive Manfred Stakes run first-up on Saturday.

A host of the autumn’s most promising three-year-old sprinter – milers feature in the Manfred Stakes nominations including Peter & Paul Snowden’s Magic Millions Day winner at the Gold Coast Wolf Cry, the Pat Hyland-trained Caulfield Guineas runner-up Lizard Island and Weir’s $9 Australian Guineas fancy Palentino.

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