Trainer Ciaron Maher is unsure Bon Aurum is forward enough to win Saturday’s Group 3 Manfred Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield but is confident the horse will take plenty of benefit from the run with a view towards the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) in early March.
Bon Aurum more than stamped himself as a colt to follow through his debut preparation in spring; posting a total of three wins and two minors from seven competitive starts highlighted by success in two black type races.
Thrilled with the form and class displayed by the three-year-old so far, Maher admits he faces a big task in winning the 2016 Manfred Stakes but is confident the benefits of the run will be priceless.
“He’s off the back of a fairly soft preparation so I think he’ll take a lot of benefit out of his first run,” Maher told Racing Ahead.
“In saying that he’s a reasonably clean-winded horse so he doesn’t need more than a light-ish prep.
“He’s been down at Warrnambool on the beach and he trialled at Caulfield on Tuesday, just had a soft one but went through the line quite nicely.
“He’s very good. He always seems to slip under the radar but his toughness is definitely his best attribute.
“I think he had eight starts in his first campaign finishing in the Guineas and some of those runs he sat three and four outside the leader at Flemington and just kept coming.”
Maher confirmed the 2016 Australian Guineas remains the major target for the Bon Hoffa colt, with his final lead-up likely to be the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on February 20th.
“He’s a very tough horse. His target is the Australian Guineas, just three runs this campaign but he’s fit, well and ready to go,” he said.
Bon Aurum debuted to racing for fourth in an Echuca minor over 1200m in late June last year; progressing to success in the Geelong Cup Bookings Now Maiden (1200m) before placing third in the E Dunley & J Lee BM70 (1400m) at Flemington on August 8th.
Running second to Stellar Collision in a Sandown 1200m sprint on August 26th, Bon Aurum made a successful transition to black type racing in taking out each of the Listed Pin & Win Stakes (1400m) and Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) leading into his most recent run for ninth in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 10th.
Ladbrokes.com.au is currently offering the best 2016 Manfred Stakes odds, for which Bon Aurum can be taken at a quote of $15 for success or $4.60 to finish in the first three.