Jockey Hugh Bowman celebrated his fourth Australian Oaks win aboard the 2017 New Zealand-trained favourite Bonneval who came from well back to enjoy a comprehensive victory in her first run down under.
Co-trainer Murray Baker is the most successful New Zealand horseman when it comes to elite level wins in Australia, the $1 million Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) success of Bonneval his 20th Group 1 win here.
Bowman previously rode ATC Oaks winners Daffodil (2009), Streama (2012) and last year’s champ Sofia Rosa (2016).
He went back-to-back on Day 2 of The Championships this autumn, the first hoop since 1999-2000 to ride successive Australian Oaks winners to victory.
“This isn’t warm-up, this is a Group 1 Australian Oaks and it is very special to me,” Bowman said post-win.
“This is my fourth now and my third one on a New Zealand filly [after Daffodil and Sofia Rosa].”
Franking the form of the Kiwis, Bonneval completed the NZ Oaks – ATC Oaks double and posted her fourth win on the trot in a dominant display at Royal Randwick.
She also became the second NZ-trained Makfi filly in as many years to beat home the locals in the mile and a half classic sharing a sire with Sofia Rosa, and gave her trainers the Australian Derby – Australian Oaks double after the success of stablemate Jon Snow in the former last Saturday.
It was the first time since Clarry Conners trained the filly Research in 1989 that a trainer won the double, while the late TJ Smith was the last to do it with a colt and filly even further back in history.
It was a wonderfully-timed ride from Bowman who never panicked despite being well back in the field until the home straight.
The all-the-way Crown Oaks winner from the spring Lasqueti Spirit wasn’t away all that great and was beaten for speed early, holding a spot off the pace set by Lubiton.
With a mile to travel, jockey Jay Ford moved up on the Lee Curtis-trained Lasqueti Spirit who rushed around the outside of the field moving past her rivals to hit the lead and turn the Oaks into a genuine staying test.
Lubiton held for second ahead of the Vinery Stud Stakes runner-up Nurse Kitchen and Perfect Rhyme coming off a second in last Saturday’s fairly weak edition of the Adrian Knox Stakes.
Bowman and Bonneval meanwhile were back third and then fourth last as the fillies really stretched out with Lasqueti Spirit leading the way down the back.
“It was a funny race and I had to make a few decisions today because I expected to be first four with Lasqueti Spirit out in front, but when she was slow away I thought what do I do here?” Bowman said.
“I decided to just be patient and bide my time and this filly didn’t let me down.”
The front runner was four lengths clear at the 800m, while Bowman was creeping closer on the favourite.
Once on the straight the Ron Leemon-trained Perfect Rhyme started to make a charge on Lasqueti Sprit, gunning her down as Bonneval came down the outside.
The Kiwi raider hit the lead with 100m to go, getting the job done in excellent fashion from Perfect Rhyme who held for second and Lasqueti Spirit a brave third to round out the ATC Oaks trifecta.
Bonneval is likely set for a return across the Tasman before a possible trip back to Australia for a Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival campaign later in the year.
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2017 Australian Oaks Results & Finishing Order
Randwick Race 6 – 08/04/2017
|1||3||BONNEVAL (NZ)||Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman||Hugh Bowman||–||6||56kg||$4.20EF|
|2||9||PERFECT RHYME||Ron Leemon||Tye Angland||4.5L||11||56kg||$18|
|3||1||LASQUETI SPIRIT||Lee Curtis||Jay Ford||4.9L||2||56kg||$11|
|4||5||HARLOW GOLD (NZ)||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Mark Zahra||11.7L||12||56kg||$5|
|5||10||WHEAL LEISURE||Archie Alexander||James Doyle||13.1L||10||56kg||$81|
|6||4||NURSE KITCHEN (NZ)||David Brideoake||Blake Shinn||13.3L||13||56kg||$4.20EF|
|7||8||WAKING MOMENT||John P Thompson||Craig Williams||18.9L||7||56kg||$20|
|8||6||DEVISE (NZ)||Shaune Ritchie||Damien Oliver||24.6L||9||56kg||$11|
|9||12||HIGH IMPULSE||James Cummings||Tim Clark||32L||5||56kg||$101|
|10||11||CAMBAGE||Scott Singleton||Ms Jess Taylor||37.1L||4||56kg||$101|
|11||13||LAMMA HILTON||Anthony & Edward Cummings||Tommy Berry||55.8L||3||56kg||$91|
|12||7||LUBITON||Bjorn Baker||Damian Lane||56.7L||8||56kg||$13|
|13||2||LA BELLA DIOSA (NZ)||Mandy & Matt Brown||Jason Collett||78L||1||56kg||$14|
|–||14||ZAMBESIA||Pat Carey||Rhys McLeod||–||0||–||–|