Winx’s managing owner Peter Tighe said the team is no hurry to find a replacement rider for champion mare Winx but would be looking for a senior jockey who will be able to handle the pressure of riding the world’s best horse on turf when she resumes for the 2018 Autumn Carnival in the Group 2 $250,000 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on February 17.
Regular rider and leading Group 1 jockey Hugh Bowman found himself out of contention to ride Winx in the Apollo Stakes after receiving a double careless riding suspension that will see him out of the saddle until February 22.
Bowman was hit with a twelve day careless riding suspension from the Warwick Farm meeting last Friday and then received another eight days for causing interference while riding at the Karaka Million Race Day at Ellerslie on Saturday.
“We will be looking for a senior jockey who can handle the pressure and best suits the horse,” Tighe told RSN927.
“We don’t want to pick a jockey now and have something happen to them ahead of the race.”
“It’s too early to discuss a replacement at the minute. We have had a good run, but it had to happen eventually.”
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.
Tighe admitted that they have had a good run with retaining the Winx – Bowman combination, and said that this situation of finding an alternative rider was inevitable.
“I suppose we had a long run without interrupted riding with Hughie and I suppose sooner or later it was going to happen,” Tighe said.
Trainer Chris Waller said that he would discuss the riding situation with Winx’s owners and would include Bowman in the process.
“I’ll go back and scratch it out with the owners and put a few suggestions forward,” Waller said in a TV interview from New Zealand.
“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.
“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.”
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.