The waters and beach surrounds of Warrnambool have supplied another Group One winner early in the new season with Bon Aurum’s victory at Caulfield.
Trainer Ciaron Maher said Bon Aurum’s win in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes on Saturday had a lot to do with his work at the Victorian seaside town.
Black Heart Bart in the Memsie Stakes and his Darren Weir-trained stablemate Palentino, the Makybe Diva Stakes victor, had earlier won the first two Group One races of the season.
Bon Aurum won the Caulfield Guineas Prelude at the corresponding meeting last year before suffering a knee injury after an unplaced run in the Caulfield Guineas.
He didn’t come up during the autumn and Maher decided on a spell and a long beach build-up.
“This horse has taken a lot of work,” Maher said.
“He has spent a lot of time down with Mathew Williams at Warrnambool who has done a great job with him.
“It’s a testament to the environment down there at the beach and it’s great to get him back and claim a Group One.”
Ridden by Sydney jockey Kerrin McEvoy, Bon Aurum ($4.40) scored by a long neck from Voodoo Lad ($6) with an unlucky Fast ‘N’ Rocking ($21) a long neck away third.
Black Heart Bart went on to extend the Warrnambool streak by taking out the Underwood Stakes.
Bon Aurum emulated the feat of his sire Bon Hoffa who won the Sir Rupert Clarkes Stakes in 2007.
Bon Hoffa went on to finish fourth in the Toorak Handicap at his next start, a race which Maher said Bon Aurum would now target.
“I’m in two minds whether he runs a strong mile but this is probably the best vein of form he’s been in and he’s still on the way up,” Maher said.
“It’s a good time to test him out and see if he can.”
McEvoy said it was Bon Aurum’s race to run well in on the 52kg minimum.
“We were able to get a good run whereas Counterattack wasn’t, in terms of getting cover away from the wind,” McEvoy said.
“We were able to track him into the race and had a trouble free run.”
McEvoy said Bon Aurum should handle the extra 200m of the Toorak Handicap.
“He’s easy to ride from a jockey’s point of view so I don’t see why he shouldn’t get it,” McEvoy said.
Damien Oliver, rider of 12th placed Xtravagant said the four-year-old travelled well in front and after giving a kick on entering the straight weakened in the run home.
“He was well behaved today so I can’t blame that,” Oliver said.