The curtain has come down on the outstanding racing career of dual New Zealand Horse of the Year Bonneval and a change in ownership looks likely in the near future.
The Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained mare has given her owners Alastair Lawrence, Terry Jarvis and John Rattray a great thrill during her racing career, but the decision has been made to retire her after her two disappointing unplaced runs in Melbourne this spring.
“We have taken that decision to retire her,” Lawrence said. “It has been a very hard decision to make, particularly given that we had such high hopes for her this spring because she is now a fully mature mare.
“I think that it’s apparent to us now that her heart is no longer in it. It looks like she has lost the will you need to compete at that level.
“It’s a tough call to make, but it is the right thing to do for the horse and we are pretty happy that she goes out 100 percent healthy and sound.”
The trio of owners purchased the five-year-old daughter of Makfi out of Westbury Stud’s 2015 New Zealand Bloodstock Premier Yearling Sale draft for $150,000 and she has given them great enjoyment on the track, winning seven of her 14 starts, including three Group One races.
“We are really proud of her efforts,” Lawrence said. “She’s won three Group Ones and a great highlight was her demolishing them in the Australian Oaks (Gr.1, 2400m).
“Another highlight was her winning the Underwood (Gr.1, 1800m) last year. Stepping up against the boys, that was pretty exceptional.
“The winners list for the Underwood is just a roll call of great Australasian horses and she beat the best there. Winx was the only one not there that day and she beat the best of the rest. I think she has the second fastest time recorded (in the race) so you’d have to be pretty proud of that.
“She has given us the thrills of a lifetime and we’ve been very fortunate to be a part of it.”
Lawrence said it has been a great pleasure to own a horse of Bonneval’s quality and her owners have enjoyed the journey she has taken them on in her four seasons of racing.
“Being able to take a horse to Australia and compete on that stage against the best, that has to be the pinnacle for a New Zealand owner. You have to be pretty good to get on that stage.”
Although her connections have enjoyed their time racing Bonneval, it is looking inevitable that she will be sold in the near future, with her current owners not particularly keen to join the breeding ranks.
“We are just working through our options at the moment,” Lawrence said. “None of us (owners) are breeders, so we are working our way through it.
“I’ve just got off the plane, but apparently there has been a lot of interest expressed in her since the rumours of her retirement surfaced.
“The sale is a possible route we will take because we’re not in that game (breeding) and that’s a specialist game.
“It’s very tempting obviously with a mare of her quality, but being in the breeding game with only one mare carries with it a different set of risks.
“We have enjoyed going to the sales every year and trying to pick something out and we have had a bit of fortune with that along the way. So we will stick with that format I suspect.”