Melbourne Cup winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy is tipping that Kiwi mare Bonneval will take her place in the final field for Group 1 $3.15m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
The Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman trained Bonneval has been under an injury cloud this week and has been the subject of several vet’s inspections, but McEvoy said that the mare felt fine when he worked her this morning and is looking forward to partnering her on the weekend.
“I’ve been happy with her, I had a canter on her yesterday (Wednesday) and she felt fine and then this morning just did some nice striding work over seven furlongs on the dirt and she seems free as a bell in my opinion,” McEvoy told racing.com.
“And happy coming off the track, she is bouncing and full of herself and seems really bright, I would be surprised if she is not right to take her spot on Saturday.
“I haven’t been asked for my opinion, I’m not a vet, I’m a jockey but the way she feels is fine, she is happy.”
Bonneval suffered her first defeat from her last seven starts when sixth to Gailo Chop in the Group 1 $1m Ladbrokes Stakes (2000m) last Saturday and Racing Victoria Stewards noted in their report following the completion of the Caulfield Guineas Race Day that the four year old mare had pulled up slightly lame in the near foreleg.
Co-trainer Murray Baker dismissed that suggestion and said that Bonneval had pulled up in great shape but chief stewards Terry Bailey said that the mare would still have to undergo a thorough examination before being cleared to start in the rich Spring Carnival 2400m feature staying race
“Our vets would have to be satisfied that she’s suitable to race and I couldn’t imagine the vets supporting a horse running that’s one out of five lame,” Bailey said.
“It’s not stepping right on it’s right fore. One out of five is the rating that the vets use so it is minor but in their view it’s there and she’s got to be free in its action to run on Saturday.”
Bonneval kicked off the Melbourne Spring Carnival in great style with a win in the Group 2 $250,000 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at The Valley on September 9 following by a win in the Group 1 $750,000 Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on October 1.
During her three year old season Bonneval proved to be the best staying filly in both New Zealand and Australia with wins in the Group 1 NZ$300,000 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham and in the Group 1 $1m James Boag’s Premium Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick.
Bonneval has drawn awkwardly at barrier fourteen in the seventeen horse Caulfield Cup field and has drifted in the betting from $6 to be marked at $9 on Thursday afternoon with Ladbrokes.com.au.
The Aidan O’Brien trained Irish stayer Johannes Vermeer with Ben Melham to ride drew barrier two and is currently the $4.40 favourite for the Caulfield Cup following his eye catching second to Gailo Chop in the Ladbrokes Stakes.