Leading jockey Hugh Bowman is set to miss the 2014 Cox Plate ride on Criterion after he was found guilty of improper riding for his ride on Light Up Manhattan in the Group 3 Caulfield Classic (2000m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Bowman partnered Light Up Manhattan in the Caulfield Classic and he earned the ire of Racing Victoria stewards for his actions at the 1500 metre mark when he turned his mounts head in and in the view of the stewards placed unnecessary pressure on Magicool before making heavy contract with the Fastnet Rock gelding who was pushed across into the path of Home Run Hero.
The incident was very similar to the one that led to Chad Schofield being suspended for 28 meetings at the start of the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival and Racing Victoria Chief Steward elected to charge Bowman with improper ride, which will see him miss 20 meetings.
“There was a level of intent by your actions that placed Glen Boss and Ben Melham, riding Home Run Hero, both in danger as a result of your actions,” Bailey said.
“He’s in danger of getting heels, he’s getting pushed towards the fence, you can see Ben Melham being tightened.
“He should not be subject to that level of pressure.”
The 20 meeting suspension is set to see Bowman miss the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m), Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) and Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) before he returns to race riding on Crown Oaks, but Bowman wasted no time lodging an appeal, which will be held on Tuesday.
The suspension of Bowman potentially leaves leading Cox Plate contender Criterion without a rider in the Australasian Weight-For-Age Championship, but trainer David Payne told TVN yesterday that he would wait until after Bowman’s appeal is held before making a decision on who will ride the
“All of a sudden I’ve become a pretty popular man, the phone hasn’t stopped ringing,” Payne said.
“I’m happy to wait for Hugh Bowman.
“He is our jockey and we’ll let the appeal process take its course.
“Obviously there a few riders in mind should he be unable to get off, but we’ll just wait and see what happens.”
Bowman steered Criterion to victory in both the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) and Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) during the 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival and was onboard the Sebring entire when he stormed home late to finish second behind Fawkner in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) on October 11.
Criterion is currently available at Cox Plate odds of $8 and is on the fourth line of betting behind Fawkner ($4), Adelaide ($6) and Sacred Falls ($6).