Nonconformist sent to the spelling paddock

Nonconformist will not be seen at the races until the Spring Carnival with Grahame Begg aborting his autumn campaign due to Sydney wet tracks.

The Caulfield Cup runner-up was due to resume in this Saturday’s $600,000 Group 1 All Aged Stakes but the likelihood of another rain-affected surface prompted the Cranbourne trainer to send him to the spelling paddock.

It means he will not contest the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) in May, for which he was one of the leading fancies.

He’s as good as gold and I was really happy with him,” Begg said.

“He was supposed to start in Sydney this week, but it’s going to be a Heavy track again and with the uncertainty of it up in Brisbane as well I decided to pull the pin.

“He’s all right Soft 5, but you get any worse than that and he’s not as effective, so we decided to pull the pin and concentrate on the spring.”

The five-year-old son of Rebel Raider has not started since logging back-to-back Group 1 placings in the 2000m The Might And Power and the $5 million Caulfield Cup (2400m).

Prior to those runs he won the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) to secure his place in the Caulfield Cup and Begg is again eyeing off Caulfield’s signature event but with the prospect of a Group 1 pathway.

“He’s qualified for the 2022 Caulfield Cup – he’s not exempt from ballot, but he is qualified for running second last year – and that’s one major hurdle we’re over,” Begg said.

“He might run in the Memsie (first-up), we’ve just got to map out a program. Obviously he won’t be going to the Naturalism, he won that last year to qualify, but he doesn’t need to go that path this year.

“We might take a different path and go to the Turnbull or something like that.”

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