Bonneval stamped herself as the best staying filly in Australasia with a strong performance in the 2017 Australian Oaks at Royal Randwick this afternoon.
Early speed maps were thrown on their heads when Lasqueti Spirit was slow out of the gates and took a while to muster speed, but Jay Ford eventually got the Crown Oaks winner rolling and she ensured that the race turned into a genuine staying contest.
Bonneval was a long way back and had plenty of ground to make-up, but Hugh Bowman got her going a long way from home and she trucked into the race on the bridle.
Lasqueti Spirit and Perfect Rhyme were still a long way in front at the top of the straight, but Bonneval was able to quickly close the distance and raced away in the final stages to deliver Bowman another Group 1 victory.
Bowman admitted that not everything went to plan in the Australia Oaks, but he was delighted that his patient tactics allowed him to combine for another Group 1 victory with trainer Murray Baker and his partner Andrew Forsman.
“They have made a partnership over the last couple of years, but I rode my first VRC Derby winner for Murray with Lion Tamer,” Bowman said.
“This isn’t warm-up, this is a Group 1 Australian Oaks and it is very special to me.
“This is my fourth now and my third one on a New Zealand filly.
“I went and worked her on Tuesday morning and it wasn’t so much the feel that she gave me that excited me, but the way she looked in her coat and the way she went about her business.
“It was a funny race and I had to make a few decisions today because I expected to be first four with Lasqueti Spirit out in front, but when she was slow away I thought what do I do here?
“I decided to just be patient and bide my time and this filly didn’t let me down.
“I was humming along, but I had a good 150 metres to make-up and I don’t care what level you are at, that is hard to do.
“She had it made up by the 100 metre mark and I could enjoy the ride with everyone else.”
Perfect Rhyme and Lasqueti Spirit were both gallant in defeat and rounded out the placings, while there was a massive gap back to the rest of the Australian Oaks field.