The world’s number one jockey Hugh Bowman has had a seven-meeting suspension upheld by Racing NSW, likely ruling him out of the next race atop superstar mare Winx.
Bowman has ridden Winx 22 times for 21 wins.
He incurred the suspension from a ride on Tsawlu on Australia Day at Warwick Farm that made him unavailable until February 15, and received another ban at Auckland’s Karaka Million meeting two days later that added a further week.
He may still appeal the latter ban later this week and seek a reduction.
Racing NSW says punishment is fair
Today, Bowman appealed to the Racing NSW panel to reduce the penalty by three weeks, but it decided his initial punishment was fair in accordance with its guidelines.
“Naturally I was hoping for a better result but we got a fair hearing and we accept it, and we will canvas our options now,” Bowman said.
“Being suspended for careless riding is part and parcel of what we do.
“At the end of the day she has been ridden to victory by other jockeys before, obviously I want to be there, but it’s not the end of the world that I won’t be.”
Following her fifth placing in a trial at Sydney’s Rosehill Gardens this morning, Winx’s trainer Chris Waller said he had a contingency plan no matter the result of Bowman’s hearing.
He hinted this morning that the champion mare might not even contest the Apollo Stakes (1,400m) as was expected on February 17.
“It all depends on where she’s at in her preparation … it’s a matter of whether we have to risk something,” Waller said.
“When you’ve got a horse like Winx you can then take in to consideration do we need to risk other jockeys riding, so we are in a pretty fortunate position.”
‘She might go faster’
Waller said there were many unknowns in breaking up the Bowman-Winx partnership.
“The experience [Bowman] is getting, the experience we are getting, the punters, the racegoers are getting is something quite special, so to break the partnership up would be a little bit different and hard to quantify how it would affect [Winx],” he said.
“Who knows, she might go faster.”
Bowman’s record on the mighty mare speaks for itself.
Their only loss together in 22 races was a second placing way back in 2014.
Since then they have shared some memorable victories, highlighted by three Cox Plate triumphs.
In the 2017 edition things were looking dire with Humidor closing fast on the champion in the straight but she was able to hold on to record a courageous win.
It also looked like Winx’s winning run would be broken in the Warwick Stakes last year, when she missed the jump by four lengths.
But true to form, the patient Bowman steered her back into the race and came charging in the final 200 metres for yet another victory.
Bowman will likely have to wait a little longer before he is involved in another Winx magic moment.
He is set to watch on as another rider attempts to lead the mare to her 23rd consecutive victory.
“If Chris [Waller] asks I wouldn’t be too keen on giving a recommendation. If he comes to me with a few names I will certainly give some input if he wants it,” Bowman said.
With the NZ suspension remaining, he will next be available for race mounts on February 22.
The next outing for Winx will likely then be the Chipping Norton Stakes (1,600m) on March 3.