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Owners sold on their bonny Kiwi mare

18 October 2017, 4:41 p.m.

Money can’t buy the thrills Bonneval’s owners are enjoying with their multiple Group One winner, although there have been serious attempts to do just that.

“We’ve had approaches to purchase her, one after she won the Oaks in Sydney and then after she won the Underwood,” said John Rattray, who races Saturday’s leading Gr.1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) hope with Alastair Lawrence and Terry Jarvis.

Bonneval winning the Underwood Stakes and returning to scale with part-owner John Rattray. Photo: Darryl Sherer

“It was certainly an awful lot of money, but we just decided we’re enjoying the ride too much and come what may we decided we want to hang on to her.

“She’s obviously got strong residual value as a broodmare and none of us are spring chickens any more. She won six Group races in a row - you just can’t buy the sort of fun we’re having.”

Bonneval is trained by Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman, and Rattray in particular, has been aligned to the Cambridge stable for nearly three decades.

“The first horse I had with Murray was in 1989 and I’ve raced with Alistair more recently,” he said.

“I had a very good horse with Murray called Fatal, who won a Group Two race and was three times Group One placed and my wife and I raced Monterey Bay. She won the Eulogy Stakes and ran fourth in the Oaks before we sold her to America.

“The total of wins I’ve had is, I think, somewhere in the sixties. It’s been a long and very good association.

“The first good one I had with Alastair was Dowry, who won the South Australian Oaks and, until this one came along, she’s the only other Group One winner.”

A daughter of Makfi, Bonneval was signed for by Baker for $150,000 at Karaka in 2015.

“Alastair and I had looked at her at Westbury Stud and then we went back for another look,” Rattray said.

“We thought she would be at the top end, price wise for us, so we got Murray to have a look. He is very under-stated and said he couldn’t see anything wrong with her.

“She’s from a very good family and the mare Imposingly has now had four Group winners. As fate would have it, we weren’t going any higher than $150,000. That was definitely our last bid and luckily we got her.

“Terry (Jarvis) is a business associate of Alastair and I had met him when I was on the board of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing and he came in with us.”

Rattray acknowledged Bonneval to be a once in a lifetime horse and said he was privileged to be involved with the mare.

“Whatever happens on Saturday – win, lose or draw - it’s been fantastic,” he said. “We’re very blessed to have her, she’s quite the marvel.” – NZ Racing Desk.