One-time Caulfield Cup favourite Bonneval will have to be passed fit by Racing Victoria vets to take her place in the race despite trainer Murray Baker insisting she is fine.
Baker’s vets have passed the mare but RV chief steward Terry Bailey says she needs to satisfy the regulatory body.
RV vets said on Wednesday Bonneval was Grade 1 out of 5 lame in her right foreleg which is at the low end of the scale.
They will examine her again on Thursday afternoon but both Baker and jockey Kerrin McEvoy, who has ridden her twice in work this week, say she is striding freely.
“She’s in excellent health and we’re very happy with her this week,” Baker said.
“She’s fit and seems good as gold.”
McEvoy, who is booked to ride the mare in a race for the first time on Saturday, has been aboard Bonneval in trackwork on Wednesday and Thursday.
The jockey says he has been happy with the four-year-old.
“I had a canter on her yesterday and she felt fine and then this morning she just did some nice striding work over seven furlongs on the dirt and she seems free as a bell in my opinion, and happy coming off the track,” McEvoy said.
“She’s bouncing and full of herself and seems really bright.
“So I’d be surprised if she’s not right to take her spot on Saturday.
“I’m not a vet, I’m a jockey, but the way she feels is fine. She’s happy.”
Bonneval is out to $8 after being as short as $5.50 for the Caulfield Cup.
A post-race veterinary report after Bonneval finished sixth in the Caulfield Stakes said the mare was lame in the near foreleg and also had a laceration to a hind pastern.
Baker said he was surprised by the attention surrounding Bonneval’s fitness.
“To be fair I am a little bit surprised because if she was sore we wouldn’t be persevering with her,” he said.
Baker, who trains in partnership with Andrew Forsman in New Zealand, also has Australian Derby winner Jon Snow in the $3 million handicap.
He would like some rain for both horses to enhance their chances.
“I can’t really split them because Jon Snow’s been going really well,” Baker said.
“He’s a Derby winner at 2400 metres which is the distance of the Caulfield Cup, so hopefully he’s right there.”
“They’re both pretty laid-back horses. They don’t do much on the (training) track. But they’re race day horses and that’s what counts.”