Bonneval recorded an impressive win in the 2017 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes at The Valley this afternoon to earn a place in the 2017 Ladbrokes Cox Plate.
Star Exhibit reared and threw Mark Zahra at the gates and the riderless horse caused some trouble during the race, but it did not change the result as Bonneval was simply too good for her rivals.
The Australian Oaks winner travelled into the race nicely and she showed a magnificent turn-of-foot when asked for an extra effort from Damian Lane to finish over the top of Rhythm To Spare and Jacquinot Bay.
Trainer Murray Baker admitted after the race that he thought Bonneval would need this run in the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes and he said that the talented mare was obviously fitter than he thought.
“She is a good filly and she is very honest,” Baker said.
“She is probably fitter than I thought she was – it is very hard to judge them when you come from New Zealand.
“It has been the wettest fitter for 40 years and we didn’t know where she was.
“We thought that if she could be running on for fifth or sixth we would be happy.
“She has that electric sprint for the finish.”
The winner of the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes earns an automatic berth in the Ladbrokes Cox Plate, but Baker said that Bonneval is no certainty to take on Winx in the Group 1 event and the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) remains her major 2017 Spring Racing Carnival target.
“She is targetting the Caulfield Cup obviously, but we will just wait and see,” Baker said.
“We haven’t picked out her next race yet.”
Abbey Marie also hit the line nicely to finish the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes in second and she looks like a mare that is crying out for a step-up in trip.
Trainer Mick Kent said that he is desperate to get the Australasian Oaks winner to 2000 metres and he revealed that both the Naturalism Stakes and the JRA Cup are both options on the way to the Caulfield Cup.
“I expected her to run very well today,” Kent said.
“I am really happy with the way she has come up and she is going really well.
“I thought she loomed to win, but she will improve on that run again.
“Once she gets to a mile and quarter is where she will excel.
“We would like to get her into the Caulfield Cup.”
Rhythm To Spare rounded out the placings in third and is clearly racing in career best form.