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Grahame Begg sees this year’s Caulfield Cup as a good opportunity for Nonconformist

Grahame Begg thinks this year may be the right time for Nonconformist to be a Caulfield Cup contender.

With international contenders requiring a number of stringent tests even before travelling to Australia, Begg believes international numbers will be well down on previous seasons in the Caulfield Cup.

Begg tried to short-circuit qualifying Nonconformist for the 2021 Caulfield Cup through the Mornington Cup (2400m) in March, but he came up 2-¾ lengths short, finishing second to Mount Popa.

The first goal of Begg on his path towards the Caulfield Cup is to try and win the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on September 18.

Victory in that race provides the winner a ballot exemption into this year’s Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 15.

Begg has pencilled in Nonconformist to return in the Group 2 P B Lawrence Stakes (1400m) on August 14, returning to that track two weeks later in the Listed Heatherlie Stakes (1700m).

“I really want to try to qualify for the Caulfield Cup as I think this year is a good opportunity,” Begg said.

“There’s unlikely to be a lot of international horses and he could be a local light-weight possibility.

“He looks good. I brought him in early. He came into work in the first week of May.

“He’s had a good five weeks in, developing a good base.

“He’s been going three-quarter pacework. He’s got to run in seven weeks and he’ll have to have a couple of jump-outs before that.

“He’ll come on pretty quickly once we get him rolling.”

Begg was hoping to qualify Nonconformist in last year’s Caulfield Cup but the horse suffered a set-back.

“He got crook and that threw everything out,” Begg said.

“I got a little bit behind time because he needed some time off.

“This year I put him straight out after the Mornington Cup and he had a nice six weeks while the weather was still good.”

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