Lightly raced four year old Bon Aurum will chase a second Group 1 victory in the Toorak Handicap after winning the Group 1 $500,000 Yulong Park Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield today.
Trainer Ciaron Maher said that he would step Bon Aurum up to the 1600m of the Group 1 $500,000 Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield in fortnight while he is racing in winning form.
“I’m in two minds if he runs a strong mile, but I think this is the best vein of form he has been in and he is still on the way up and improving, a good time to test it out,” Maher said.
Maher set the Bon Hoffa gelding for the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at the beginning of this campaign and he went into today’s race on the back of a win in the Listed $120,000 The Sofitel (1400m) at Flemington on September 10.
“We thought that we would kick him off back in a ratings race and if he made the necessary steps we can always lift the bar,” Maher said.
Winning rider Kerrin McEvoy settled Bon Aurum midfield well away from the fence and had him in clearing running when heads were turned for home.
Bon Aurum ($4.40) responded to McEvoy’s riding in the straight to claim the lead close to the post to record a half a length win over the consistent Voodoo Lad ($6) with Fast ‘N’ Rocking ($21) getting out late to find third spot.
“It was a great ride by Macca, very patient. He got him into that three wide line where he likes to be and really brought him on,” Maher said.
Maher credits a lot of Bon Aurum’s winning form to his staff, especially those based at Warrnambool where the stallion spends a lot of time doing beach work.
“This horse has taken a lot of work. He has spent a lot of time down with Mathew Williams in Warrnambool,” Maher said.
“He has done a great job with him. Just a testament to the environment down there at the beach. It is just great to get him back and claim a Group 1 with him.”
The favourite Counterattack ($3.80) was given every chance by Craig Williams and after looming up in the straight faded to finish sixth, two and three quarter lengths behind the winner.