Melbourne Cup/Caulfield Cup pair show Flare in trial at Cranbourne

Trainer Grahame Begg was delighted with how his two Cups contenders came through there trials at Cranbourne in preparation for their spring returns.

Lunar Flare and Nonconformist both trialled over 1000m on Monday, on a track that was rated slow.

With a berth in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup already assured courtesy of her win in the Listed Andrew Ramsden Stakes (2800m) at Flemington in May, Lunar Flare was not let off the bridle in her trial when sixth to Dubai Poet.

“She trialled beautifully,” Begg said.

“She wasn’t put under any pressure. The track was chopping out and we were very mindful of that being her first trial back.

“We wanted to look after her and get her a nice ease into her preparation. She came through it very well, pulled-up good in the wind.

“In two weeks’ time, hopefully there will be another jump-out, probably over 1200 metres, and then we will be looking at running her first-up.”

Begg has picked out the Group 2 Feehan Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 9 as a kick-off point for Lunar Flare’s spring campaign.

If the mare was to win that race, it would give her a ‘win and you’re in’ ticket into the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley.

Begg said he hopes to run Lunar Flare in either the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) or the Cox Plate as her final lead up ahead of the Melbourne Cup on November 7.

Nonconformist finished third in his heat behind Steinem, but Begg said the gelding was a little more forward in condition than his stablemate.

Both Lunar Flare and Nonconformist wintered in Queensland and did some pre-training up north before travelling back to Melbourne.

Nonconformist last raced when finishing second to Without A Fight in the Group 2 Q22 (2200m) at Eagle Farm in June and Begg is aiming the galloper at a third shot at the Caulfield Cup.

Begg is planning to start Nonconformist first-up in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on September 2, then going to the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) three weeks later.

“He’d had only one gallop leading into the trial, but he’s held good race fitness since coming back from Brisbane and he worked home beautifully in that trial,” Begg said.

“He’s in immaculate condition.

“He’ll run first-up in the Memsie and then he’ll go to the Underwood.”

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