Day At The Track

Connections of 'Bonavista' want NZ spoils

04:36 AM 26 Aug 2009 NZST
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Bonavista Bay, Clayton Tonkin
Bonavista Bay, Clayton Tonkin - and Chris Alford at Melton last Sunday (August 23).
Duane Ranger photo

Hugely talented rising 4-year-old Victorian pacer, Bonavista Bay is likely to take on New Zealand's best age-group and open-class pacers in two separate campaigns at Alexandra Park and Addington Raceway. However harness racing fans in New Zealand are going to have to wait until next year before they get to see the highly regarded Aussie colt in the flesh.

Clayton Tonkin, who co-trains the gifted son of Rustler Hanover with Emma Stewart at Smythes Creek, told Harnesslink at the Moonee Valley Racetrack this week that it would be a dream to have Bonavista Bay line up in the New Zealand Cup in 15 months. But before that he would like to give the brown colt some New Zealand experience before coming over for that $1 million 3200m standing start staying test. 

"Nothing is concrete yet but the I think Emma will take him across for the two Group One races for 4-year-olds at Alexandra Park next April and May. He's a very special racehorse and deserves to have a chance against the best. We would not be scared lining him up as a 4-year-old in the New Zealand Cup," Tonkin (26) said.

The two Alexandra Park races Tonkin was referring to were the $100,000 Woodlands Taylor Mile on April 24 and the $200,000 New Zealand Messenger Championship a week later.

Bonavista Bay ran a massive second behind Tintin In America in last Sunday's $170,000 Australasian Breeders Crown Final for 3yo colts and geldings. Driver Chris Alford had him three-wide early from gate 12 and then sat outside the above average Captain Joy for the last lap before leaving him in his wake at the top of the straight.

Tintin In America, who did half as much work, ran over the top of Bonavista Bay winning by a length in track record time (2240m mobile - 2:41.70).

Tonkin knew how big the run was, especially after out-muscling Captain Joy, who was going for his 14th consecutive win.

Tonkin said the Stewart barn was never one to throw good horses in the deep end too soon but believed Bonavista Bay could handle anything as a 4-year-old.

"We planned bringing him over to New Zealand for the Derbies (last season) but he had an injury set-back. We were going to come when Bus To Harland came. He'll get a two week freshener now and then we will plan his programme from there," Tonkin said.

"I think it would definitely be beneficial for him to come to New Zealand, especially when you think long-term about his stud career," Tonkin added.

Bonavista Bay, who is out of Troublemaker mare Our Lady Rena, has raced 14 times for 11 wins and two placings. His stakes earnings currently stand at $129,152. His biggest win to date came on December 20 last year at Moonee Valley when he won the Group Three $40,000 Victorian Sires Classic.

Duane RANGER (editor)

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