After a dramatic few days, star New Zealand mare Bonneval has been cleared to run in the Caulfield Cup as veteran trainer Murray Baker expected.
Racing Victoria vets inspected Bonneval on Wednesday and deemed the four-year-old was Grade 1 out of 5 lame in her right foreleg, an improvement on their previous Grade 2 assessment.
Stewards ordered another inspection 24 hours later and on Thursday afternoon two RV vets passed the multiple Group One winner fit to start in Saturday’s $3 million 2400m-handicap.
Baker had insisted since Sunday there were no concerns with the mare despite a post-race veterinary report on last Saturday’s Caulfield Stakes saying the mare, who finished sixth, was lame in the near foreleg and also had a laceration to a hind pastern.
“She’s in excellent health and we’re very happy with her this week,” Baker said on Thursday morning.
“She’s fit and seems good as gold.”
The in-form Kerrin McEvoy, who is booked to ride Bonneval in a race for the first time in the Caulfield Cup, has been aboard the mare in trackwork on Wednesday and Thursday in preparation for Saturday.
“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.”
Bonneval is out to $8.50 after being as short as $5.50 for the Caulfield Cup.
The mare is unbeaten in two starts over 2400m in this year’s New Zealand Oaks and Australian Oaks.
Baker said he had been 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 and won the 2015 Caulfield Cup with Mongolian Khan, also has Australian Derby winner Jon Snow in the race.
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.”
Market 💰: View the current Caulfield Cup market
*Existing customers only. 2nd Racing bet. Excl SA & WA. T’s & C’s apply. Gamble responsibly.