She’s got a Ticket to Ride but Bonneval Don’t Care for Cox Plate

Bonneval took out Saturday’s Group 2 Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes at Moonee Valley, marking an impressive return to racing by the Group 1 Australian Oaks winner.

Abbey Marie was second by a neck and Rhythm To Spare was back four lengths.

Bonneval jumped as the $5 second favourite, along with He’s Our Rokki. Abbey Marie jumped at $12 and Rhythm To Spare started at $16, leaving in their wake several lower priced horses, including Darren Weir’s Star Exhibit, that sent jockey Mark Zahra to the ground when the gates opened and toured Moonee Valley on his own.

Bonneval has won as far out as 2400 m, but trainer Murray Baker seems disinclined to run his mare in the Group 1 Cox Plate, even though winning the Dato Tan includes a free trip to Australia’s greatest weight-for-age race.

Baker spoke plainly when asked about the Cox Plate.

“Not unless Winx drops out — that’s a pretty obvious one,” said Baker. “She’s targeting the Caulfield Cup obviously but we’ll just wait and see. We haven’t mapped out her next race yet.”

Bonneval does seem to have the credentials to take on Winx. She has won six times from nine starts, including Group 1 wins in the Australian and New Zealand Oaks. She may need some time to mature before going up against the likes of Winx, or she may have to wait until the might mare calls time to jump in the Cox Plate, but this is the time of year when trainers do not revel in revealing their exact plans if they can avoid doing so.

Star Exhibit caused more than a little havoc in the race, as he went around without Zahra. He first tried to push inside and then got in the way of several others.

The Dato Chin has often been the launching pad for Cox Plate winners, including such legends as Sunline, Fields Of Omagh, Better Loosen Up and Sunline.

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