While Hugh Bowman packs all the essentials before he heads off to England there’s one thing he’d like to take with him more than anything, a Group 1 win.
Bowman will have his final ride in Australia this Saturday at Eagle Farm and then head off to Europe for a six week riding stint.
It’s a beauty of a program to finish up on and he’s a real chance at bagging multiple race victories on the day, especially in the features.
He considers Hot Snitzel to be his most likely winner and feels he’s a shoe in for the Group 1 TJ Smith if he can put in a similar run to the one which saw the pair claim the Sire’s Produce Stakes last start.
“He went super and there’s no reason why he can’t do that again. I think the field on Saturday has actually dropped away from what he beat last weekend.” Bowman said.
Not even a bad gate draw detracts from his chances.
“I’m not worried about drawing 10, he can stay out of trouble and it is a mile at Eagle Farm. I want an uninterrupted run and I should be able to get that from out there,” he said.
He’s not the only Group 1 hope and his mount Black Piranha is nearing favouritism for the main event Stradbroke Handicap.
Bowman was impressed with his Doomben 10,000 run last start and feels a bit of luck and a good ride will see the horse get across the stripe first.
“Con (Karakatsanis) said to me that the horse was going to improve from the 10,000 run so he’ll take some holding out on Saturday,” Bowman said.
“He’s got a nice draw (barrier three). I think the inside barrier worked against us in the 10,000 but under handicap conditions I think it is a plus.”
In the third Group 1, the Queensland Derby, Bowman will take the reins of Alma’s Fury which can’t find any luck in Brisbane.
Once again he’s drawn poorly but if the tide changes in running Bowman says he’s a chance.
“He’s an adaptable horse. In his last two runs he’s shown he can go back and can race on the pace so if he can get some luck from the tricky draw he has a genuine chance.” Bowman said.
It’s not just the features where he looks strong and in the Strawberry Road Handicap he’ll be trying to extract the bets out of New Zealand import Firebolt.
At his best he probably wins the race with ease but he’s an incredibly tricky horse to get a read on.
He can win by three one week and run last the next so Bowman knows it’ll be challenging to backup his last start win in the Lord Mayor’s Cup.
It’s a similar kind of horse to finish the day as well with Torio’s Quest in the Group 2 Queensland Guineas.
At his best he’s the favourite but he’s really struggled to deliver on the promise he showed earlier in his career.
He has won both the Gold Coast Magic Millions and Wyong Magic Millions but that’s a long way from the performance he put in last start.
Bowman will kick off the day with his least fancied hope, Santa Maura at around 100 to 1.
If he pulls of a miracle there you can bet there will be a flood of money for his rides later on the card.
Overall he shapes up very well though with Firebolt, Hot Snitzel and Black Piranha all near enough to favourite in their respective events.
Alma’s Fury and Torio’s Quest aren’t a long way behind in their races either.
It would be a huge boost for Bowman who will have his first English ride next month at Royal Ascot.
“I could have gone a bit earlier but I wanted to make the Stradbroke my last day. I wanted to get the Brisbane carnival over with; I’ll only miss the one Group One.” Bowman said.
The last time he went to Europe was in 2007 and he returned in favour after claiming 33 winners.
Much of his riding will be done for English trainer and good mate Mick Channon.
“Mick was keen for me to come back for a full season in 2008 but the reality was I had too much to lose. As much as I enjoyed it, I felt it would have been too much of a gamble to go to England and start over again,” he said.
“I’m really looking forward to riding in Britain again and also catching up with friends. I’m not going there expecting to set the world on alight.”