Trainer Danny O’Brien has revealed that 2014 Victoria Derby runner-up Bondeiger will return to racing in the 2015 CS Hayes Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on February 21.
O’Brien revealed at the end of last year that the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 7 would be the early 2015 Melbourne Festival Of Racing goal for Bondeiger and he told TVN yesterday that the War Pass colt would head into the race second-up after running in the CS Hayes Stakes – just like Shamrocker and Shamus Award, who won the race for O’Brien in 2011 and 2014 respectively.
Bondeiger is yet to return to the Flemington-based stable of O’Brien, but the Group 1 winning trainer said that he was happy with the progress that the three-year-old has made during his stint in the spelling paddock.
“We’re really pleased with him,” O’Brien said.
“He’s still down at the farm, he’s strengthened up, he’s done really well since the spring.”
Bondeiger made his racing debut with a third place finish in the Catanach’s Jewellers Handicap (1000m) at Sandown in April last year and he was immediately sent to the spelling paddock to begin preparations for a spring campaign.
He returned to racing with a second place finish behind Inkulu in the Join The Briseis Club Maiden (1300m) at Geelong on September 12 and he recorded his maiden race win when he flew home late to take out the Market Square Shopping Maiden (1435m) at the same venue on September 26.
Bondeiger scored his maiden metropolitan race win when he took out the Champagne Pommey Handicap (1600m) and he made up plenty of ground against the pattern of the race when he made his debut at Group level in the Group 2 Moonee Valley Vase (2040m) on Cox Plate Day.
The promising stayer was well-backed in the lead-up to the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington on November 1 and he justified that support when he produced a strong staying effort to finish a close second behind Chris Waller-trained Preferment.
O’Brien will join Hall Of Fame trainers David Hayes (King’s High, Zabeel and Miss Finland) and Lee Freedman (Mahogany, Flying Spur and Mr Murphy) as the only trainers to have won the Australian Guineas on three occasions in the last 30 years if Bondeiger is able to take out the Group 1 event at Flemington on March 7.