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Crunch time for multiple Group 1 winner

3 min read

Written by Paul Vettise

The clock is ticking for Bonneval (NZ) (Makfi {GB}) and time is likely to be called on her if she fails to make an impression in Sunday’s G1 Underwood S., at Caulfield.

New Zealand’s reigning Horse of the Year won the Hyland Race Colours-sponsored feature 12 months ago off the back of success in the G2 Dato Tan Chin Nam S. A below par performance in this year’s Moonee Valley race has connections more hopeful than confident heading into the weekend.

“She’s been galloping well and she looks as good as ever. Sunday is going to tell the tale and we’re not getting our hopes up too much.

“It is D-Day for her and if she doesn’t put in then the owners won’t be keen to press on.” – Andrew Forsman.

“It is D-Day for her and if she doesn’t put in then the owners won’t be keen to press on.”

Not that Bonneval has anything to prove. A 13-start career has netted multiple Group 1 victories and she has banked more than NZ$1.5 million.

Bonneval in form winning the G1 ATC Oaks

“We can’t really get her any better so she’s going to be telling us on Sunday what we do,” Forsman said.

He returned to New Zealand on Tuesday with senior partner Murray Baker now in Melbourne to oversee the stable’s fortunes.

“I hope she's improved, but we'll find out on Sunday,” Baker said. “She was a little bit behind (going into the Dato) as I said at the time and we're happy enough with her.

“She hadn't run for 10 and a-half months and she had missed a couple of trials due to cancellations.” – Murray Baker.

“I did say she would probably need a run. She hadn't run for 10 and a-half months and she had missed a couple of trials due to cancellations.

“We want to see an improvement in her. We'll be happy to see her finish a lot closer. We'd be wanting her to show something to probably continue in her preparation.”

Bonneval’s win last year gave Baker his fourth Underwood title having lifted it previously with Dundeel (NZ) (High Chaparral {IRE}), Lion Tamer (NZ) (Storming Home {GB}) and The Phantom (NZ) (Noble Bijou {USA}).

Derby winner back

The stable is also very much taking a wait and see approach with last season’s G1 New Zealand Derby winner Vin De Dance (NZ) (Roc de Cambes {NZ}), who opens his spring campaign in the Jukebox @ Aquis Farm H.

He hasn’t been seen out since he finished fourth in the G1 Australian Derby in the autumn.

“He’s only had a couple of jump-outs over there so it’s very hard to get a line on him,” Forsman said.

“He galloped really well with Bonneval on Tuesday morning, but he’s not a 100 per cent yet. He’s first-up over 1700 metres with 61kg so it’s certainly not going to be very easy for him.

“He needs to get going though, and if he runs well Murray may look at the Caulfield S., if not we could pull up stumps.”