The $1 million Memsie Stakes has been pencilled in as the likely spring kick-off for Group One-winning stablemates Bonneval and Jon Snow.
The two gave the New Zealand partnership of Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman a rare achievement as the trainers of the winners of the Australian Derby (Jon Snow) and Australian Oaks (Bonneval) in Sydney during the autumn carnival.
Forsman said Jon Snow and Bonneval returned to work in New Zealand at the beginning of June and were a week or two from their first decent hit-outs on the training track.
“They are both stronger but obviously you’d expect that going from three to four-year-old,” Forsman said.
“We couldn’t be happier at this stage but there’s still a lot of water to go under the bridge.
“We’ll probably look at giving them a trial here in early August and then get them over to Melbourne in the middle of August.”
The Group One Memsie Stakes (1400m) on September 2 at Caulfield is their likely starting point.
Before Baker joined forces with Forsman, he won the 2015 Caulfield Cup with Mongolian Khan, a target for both Jon Snow and Bonneval.
“Obviously they are both Caulfield Cup candidates, so that would be the target at this stage unless one of them puts their hand up and says they are good enough to take on Winx (in the Cox Plate),” Forsman said.
“I think otherwise we’ll be steering in that direction.”
Jon Snow won the Tulloch Stakes and Derby in his two Sydney autumn starts while Bonneval was a dominant winner of the Oaks in her only Sydney appearance.
They are high in Caulfield Cup markets.
“It’s not easy to win an Oaks or a Derby, but I guess you’ve always got to be mindful they’re coming off rain-affected tracks against their own age, and then getting to Melbourne against the older horses at weight-for-age is always a different ball game,” Forsman said.
“Only a select few can take that step up and we were lucky that Mongolian Khan was good enough to do it. And we’re pretty confident these two have the class to do that, so hopefully everything works out between now and then.”