Hugh Bowman has been booked to ride Astern in the 2016 Silver Slipper Stakes and he is confident that the talented colt is forward enough to win the Group 2 event at Rosehill Gardens this weekend.
James McDonald was set to maintain his partnership with Astern this weekend, but he made the decision to head to Melbourne to ride Exosphere in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) and Bowman was quickly asked to partner the leading Golden Slipper contender.
Bowman made his first trip out to Godolphin’s Osbourne Park facility this morning to ride Astern in track work and he told Sky Racing HQ that he was pleased with the feel he received from the two-year-old ahead of the Silver Slipper Stakes on Saturday.
“It was a bit of an honour to get the opportunity to go out there,” Bowman said.
“I went out there to gallop Astern, who I ride in the Silver Slipper this weekend, and I was very pleased with the feel that he gave me.
“He gave me a good feel like any good horse would.
“He didn’t go out to break any records and haven’t not worked with the horse at all it is hard to get a guide on where he is fitness wise, but I would say he is forward enough to win this weekend and he will take benefit from the outing.
“It would only be natural that John would have him at that type of stage.
“He is a very strong colt and physically he is very forward and mature.”
Bowman only rode for Godolphin on seven occasions last season and did not have any success, but he rode for trainer John O’Shea before he took the job with Godolphin and he said that he is happy to ride for the leading operation whenever he is given the opportunity.
“I had a close association with John prior to him going to Godolphin and I rode for them last year in the Golden Slipper,” Bowman said.
“It is certainly an opportunity, I don’t have a top two-year-old just yet, but we are getting to the business end of the season now and I am sure we are going to see a few roll out.
“I am happy to fill in where I can and when I am needed I will do what I can.”
Bowman is chasing his second win in the Silver Slipper Stakes after previously saluting on Clarry Connors-trained Satins Shoes in 2011.