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Co-trainer Murray Baker may be confident his bonny mare Bonneval is “good as gold” for the 2017 Caulfield Cup on Saturday but she is still yet to be given a 100% pass from Racing Victoria stewards.
There is a pre-race drama playing out ahead of Caulfield Cup Day between the Kiwi-based Baker and the stewards regarding the race fitness of one-time favourite for the $3.15 million classic.
The soundness of the four-year-old Makfi mare has come into question after she pulled up slightly lame with cuts to her offside hind leg following her sixth as the beaten favourite in last Saturday’s Group 1 Ladbrokes Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield.
A winner of her previous six starts before the streak came to an end, Bonneval was examined again on Wednesday by RV head veterinarian Grace Forbes who still wasn’t happy with the mare’s gait.
Winner of the NZ Oaks – ATC Oaks double over 2400m as a three-year-old filly in the autumn, Bonneval will undergo a final examination this afternoon as ordered by RV chief steward Terry Bailey.
“We’ve said all week we were going to have a look at her,” Bailey said on Thursday morning.
“It was convenient for our vets to have a look at it this afternoon at Flemington.
“Our vets say she is one out of five [lame].
“They are going to confer with their stable vets and have another look at her [this] afternoon.
“As far as he [Baker] is concerned, whatever variance in her action is, that’s her.
“That’s why we want to talk to his vets.”
Baker enjoyed Caulfield Cup success with Mongolian Khan (2015) two years ago who improved on a Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes third to win.
Now training at Cambridge in partnership with Andrew Forsman, Baker said scans ordered on Bonneval had come back clear.
“Apparently she was as good as gold and there were no abnormalities,” Baker told Racenet.
“I am a little bit surprised as to all the attention as if she was sore we wouldn’t persevere with her.
“When you pull a horse straight out of the box and it’s been standing there for seven hours, obviously it’s stiff for a start; that’s why they have warm ups.”
Jockey Kerrin McEvoy was pleased with her work this morning and said the mare “seems free as a bell”.
“She seems free as a bell in my opinion and was happy coming off the track,” he said.
“I’ve been happy with her, I had a canter on her yesterday and then this morning I just did some nice striding work.
“I’d be surprised if she is not right to take her spot in the field.”
The punters remain unconvinced Bonneval will take her spot in the 17-horse Caulfield Cup field on Saturday.
Originally at $6 for the win after drawing wide in barrier 14, the 52.5kg weighted mare has drifted right out in Caulfield Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au to $9.
Bonneval worked on the dirt at Flemington over 1400m this morning, as did the stable’s other Caulfield Cup contender Jon Snow.
A $12 shot in Caulfield Cup betting drawn the same barrier that produced Mongolian Kahn, six, the four-year-old Iffraaj stallion is after a second career Group 1 win following his ATC Derby (2400m) success in April.
Two back Jon Snow posted a win in the Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m) at The Valley before his third in the Caulfield Stakes with Stephen Baster, who retains the ride on Saturday, in the saddle.
To back the visiting New Zealand stablemates in the Caulfield Cup 2017 head to Ladbrokes.com.au today.
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