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Co-trainer Murray Baker is eyeing a next-up run in the Underwood Stakes 2017 for his classy mare Bonneval following her resuming run in the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes over the weekend.
The dual Oaks winning daughter of Makfi kicked off her Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival bid in fine style, scoring a quarter-length victory over Abbey Marie in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley.
It was the now four-year-old’s first run since she stormed home by over four lengths at Randwick to win the Group 1 ATC Oaks (2400m) back in early April, and one that suggested to Baker that improvement was still to come.
“She’s a class mare but she can be hard to get a line on at times,” Baker, who co-trains in partnership with Andrew Forsman, told the NZ Racing Desk on Sunday.
“I wasn’t sure if she was ready to win like that as we had come out of such a wet winter and she had only had the one trial.
“She does have an electric sprint and when she got into such a good position approaching the home corner I thought she would be hard to beat then.
“Damian [Lane] came in and said there was still plenty of petrol in the tank at the finish so that was pleasing to hear.”
Baker has a big spring planned for the proven stayer and will head towards the 2017 Caulfield Cup via a run on October 1 in the $750,000 Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m).
The Group 1 $3 million BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) is the key spring target for Bonneval who sits as the $9 second elect behind Hartnell ($7) in pre-field markets at Ladbrokes.com.au for the October 21 classic.
“She appears to have come through the race well so we will now finalise our plan to see her through to the Caulfield Cup which is her main assignment,” Baker said.
History is against Bonneval for her second-up target as no mare has won the Underwood Stakes since Tristarc back in 1985.
Baker though has an excellent recent record in the Underwood Stakes results preparing two past winners with Lion Tamer (2011) and It’s A Dundeel (2013).
Two of the past three Underwood Stakes winners meanwhile came off a lead-up run in the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes with Foreteller (3rd in 2014) and Mourinho (6th in 2014).
Baker has also enjoyed recent success in the Caulfield Cup taking out the mile and a half feature two years ago with then four-year-old Mongolian Khan (2015).
The mares have had a better strike rate in the Caulfield Cup too with recent victories by Southern Speed (2011) and Jameka (2016).
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