Suspended jockey Hugh Bowman is desperately trying to retrieve the ride on champion mare Winx when she kicks off her 2018 Autumn Carnival campaign in the Group 2 $250,000 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on February 17.
At the moment Bowman will be on the sideline when Winx steps out at Randwick for the first time this year because of dual careless riding suspensions that will keep him out of the saddle until February 22.
After initially accepting the careless riding suspensions, Bowman has now decided to appeal the severity of a his suspension out of last Friday’s Warwick Farm meeting and a second outing he received from the Karaka Million Race Day meeting at Ellerslie in New Zealand on Saturday.
Trainer Chris Waller and Winx’s owner were preparing to start a wide search to find a suitable jockey to replace Bowman on the world champion but will now have to wait if Bowman can get his suspensions reduced and be back in the saddle in time to partner Winx in the Apollo Stakes as she attempts to win her twenty-third race on the trot.
Bowman and Winx have been inseparable since winning the Group 1 $1m The Star Epsom (1600m) at Randwick during the 2015 Sydney Spring Carnival, combining for nineteen wins, including the last three runnings of the Group 1 $3m Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley.
If Bowman is unsuccessful in his appeals, Waller said that he would include the leading jockey in his discussions with the mare’s owners to find a suitable replacement.
“We’ll probably include Hugh Bowman in the decision as well because obviously there’s a lot of pressure involved with the rider of Winx, a lot of expectations,” Waller said.
“I don’t want to put any jockey in that situation that’s not comfortable with it. I don’t want him or her to think he or she may be the reason she doesn’t win.’
“At this stage I’ve been thinking about throwing my phone away. It’s been going off with messages from all over the world, which we are honoured by, as well as riders in Australia and New Zealand.”
Bowman had an extra busy weekend and headed straight to Hong Kong after the Karaka Million Meeting to ride at the Group 1 meeting at Sha Tin on Sunday with his best result being a third on the John Moore trained Werther in the Group 1 HK$10m The Stewards’ Cup (1600m).
Winx is well advanced into her preparation for her return to the race track in the Autumn and was held down to sixth place in a 900m barrier trial at Rosehill on January 22 with Bowman aboard.
The record breaking mare is due to have another barrier at Rosehill on February 5 in readiness for the Apollo Stakes return.
Winx was spelled after her history making win in the 2017 Ladbrokes Cox Plate which was her twenty-second consecutive win and took her overall record to twenty-six wins from thirty-two starts and lifted her prizemoney earnings to $15,627,925.