Talented stayer Nonconformist hasn’t been seen at the races since his runner-up effort in the 2021 Caulfield Cup (2400m), but trainer Grahame Begg is confident the horse is right where he needs to be ahead of his first-up task this Saturday.
The six-year-old son of Rebel Raider has won five of his 19 races and has already earned over $1.5 million in prizemoney, so he will be looking to add to that impressive record when he lines up in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.
From 12 starts at The Heath, Nonconformist has finished on the podium nine times, with two of his three victories at the track coming at Group 3 level.
While the seven furlongs of the Memsie will be short of the gelding’s favoured trip, a recent trial win at Casterton suggests the horse has come back with plenty of sharpness in his legs, so Begg is expecting a forward showing.
— Racing.com (@Racing) August 8, 2022
“It’s a traditional race to kick off in heading towards the Caulfield Cup,” Begg told HorseBetting.
“The horse has had a barrier trial and he seems to be in good shape. Obviously 1400m will be short of his best distance and he does certainly improve once he has a couple of runs under his belt.
“His form will certainly come on.”
En route to the Caulfield Cup last year, Nonconformist finished midfield over 1400m at Caulfield in the P.B. Lawrence Stakes before running a narrow fourth in the Group 2 Feehan Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley and then winning the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield when third-up.
“He’ll run on Saturday and then he’ll go to the Makybe Diva at Flemington and then to the Underwood Stakes,” Begg said.
“You’d like to think by Underwood Stakes Day that he’s starting to show his best.”
Jordan Childs will be reunited with the horse in Saturday’s Memsie Stakes after missing out on riding him in the Caulfield Cup due to the light weight.
Given he ran second in last year’s Caulfield Cup, Nonconformist is expected to be one of the top weights in this year’s edition, with handicaps to be released in early September.
Nonconformist is one of the early favourites for the Caulfield Cup, while he is a $26 chance in Saturday’s Memsie Stakes with most Australian betting sites.