Local galloper Zahspeed remains the solid...
After being cleared to run in the 2017 Caulfield Cup field on Saturday, the Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman-trained mare Bonneval now has a historical hoodoo to overcome.
Questions over the Makfi four-year-old’s fitness arose after Bonneval suffered leg lacerations and was found to be lame after her sixth in the Group 1 Ladbrokes Stakes (2000m) last Saturday.
That defeat brought to an end the Kiwi mare’s six straight winning streak that included a lead-up win in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) over Hartnell.
A final vet check ordered by Racing Victoria stewards took place on Thursday afternoon, which Bonneval passed with flying colours.
“We had two vets check Bonneval on Thursday afternoon and she has been cleared to run,” RV chief steward Terry Bailey said.
“She was trotted up at Flemington where she is staying and our vets also inspected scans of her suspensory ligaments that had been provided by Murray Baker’s stable vet.
“In our opinion her condition has improved in the past 24 hours and we are satisfied she is fit to start.”
One-time favourite for the Group 1 $3.15 million BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m), the NZ Oaks – ATC Oaks double winner has firmed back into $8 through Ladbrokes.com.au after nearing a double-figure quote.
Bonneval ticks plenty of boxes on the Caulfield Cup form guide including the fact Baker prepared Ladbrokes Stakes graduate Mongolian Khan (3rd in 2015) to victory in the world’s richest mile-and-a-half race two years ago.
Last spring Jameka (2016) beat home the boys, the second mare to do so along with fellow four-year-old Southern Speed (2011) since the champion New Zealander Ethereal (2001).
Coming down from 56kg to 52.5kg, which is the right weight for a mare to win the Caulfield Cup, Bonneval has hoop Kerrin McEvoy coming aboard for the first time and he has been singing her plenty of praises over the week.
“It is great to be on this mare who has got a great record at a mile-and-a-half and she has won around Caulfield, myself and Murray might have to do a rain dance now this afternoon,” McEvoy told Racing Victoria on Thursday, hinting at Bonneval’s smart Soft-track record (5-3-0-1).
Looking over the Caulfield Cup history books however punters have to go back 41 years to find the last mare to win the ATC Oaks and Caulfield Cup in the same year.
How Now (1976) was the last winner of Sydney’s Oaks race to go on in the spring and salute in the Caulfield Cup.
That same year Surround saluted in the Caulfield Guineas against the colts and geldings and last Saturday the Lindsay Park-trained filly Catchy failed to break the drought with her brave third behind $101 winner of the now $2 million classic Mighty Boss.
Plenty of eyes will be on Bonneval this weekend then as she looks to overcome another female galloper’s hoodoo at The Heath.
In the past 10 years five ATC Oaks winners have lined-up in a Caulfield Cup field and the sixth finish by Absolutely in 2011 behind the aforementioned fellow mare Southern Speed was the worst result.
The best was the second by Rising Romance behind Japanese raider Admire Rakti in 2014.
The others were: Gust Of Wind (4th in 2015), Royal Descent (5th in 2013) and Daffodil (4th in 2009).
That bodes well for Bonneval to run a place in the Caulfield Cup results this weekend as she looks to atone for last Saturday, which was her first loss at 2000m or further.
If Bonneval is back to her best she is more than capable of Caulfield Cup success, especially considering she knocked out the best sectionals (1000-800-600-400m) in the Ladbrokes Stakes before things came undone.
She will eat-up the 2400m on Saturday and Baker knows how to get a stayer to peak on Grand Final day.
To check out the updated Bonneval odds in the 2017 Caulfield Cup markets visit Ladbrokes.com.au today.
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