Bowman to miss Winx’s Apollo launch
HORSE RACING: Racing's famous partnership of Hugh Bowman and Winx has been split after the world's best jockey was sensationally suspended in New Zealand.
Bowman was hit with a 12-day careless riding ban at the Karaka Millions meeting at Ellerslie on Saturday which comes on top of another suspension he incurred at Warwick Farm on Australia Day.
The two penalties combined mean that Bowman will be sidelined when mighty mare Winx resumes in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes at Royal Randwick on February 17.
Winx's trainer Chris Waller needs to consider replacement jockeys with the likes of Brenton Avdulla, Tye Angland, Glyn Schofield, Corey Brown, Blake Shinn and Damien Oliver all possible contenders for the Apollo Stakes ride on the champion mare, rated the world's best racehorse on turf.
Kerrin McEvoy has ridden Winx in an exhibition gallop before but he will be in Melbourne that day to ride The Everest winner Redzel in the Group 1 Lightning Stakes.
Waller has often called on Hong Kong-based superstar Joao Moriera to ride at major Sydney race meetings but as the Apollo Stakes is only a Group 2 race, the jockey can't be considered or the Winx ride under Hong Kong Jockey Club rules.
Bowman does have appeal options he could explore but was resigned to his fate when he left Ellerslie racecourse on Saturday to catch a plane for Hong Kong where he is riding on Sunday.
"I won't be appealing it and I expect her (Winx) to start as planned on the 17th and I won't be riding her, which will be a strange experience,'' Bowman told media at Ellerslie. "I don't know who will be next in line but Chris will work something out."
Bowman has been Winx's exclusive race jockey for more than two years and has ridden the great mare in her last 19 races, winning them all. The last time another jockey rode Winx was James McDonald when he won on the mare in the 2015 Theo Mark Stakes.
Bowman's manager, Bryan Haskins, said on Saturday night an application will be made to Racing NSW stewards to vary the Warwick Farm suspension period so he can start the penalty earlier even though this still would not be enough to free the jockey for the Apollo Stakes ride on Winx.
Racing NSW chief steward Marc Van Gestel confirmed approval would be given for Bowman to start his Warwick Farm suspension on Monday with the penalty due to end on February 9.
Bowman's New Zealand suspension would then commence on February 10 and he would not be free to resume riding until February 22.
"Hugh won't be appealing the New Zealand suspension,'' Haskins said on Saturday night.
BOWMAN'S RECORD ON WINX
22 rides, 21 wins
15 Group 1 wins, including three Cox Plates
WINX'S OVERALL RECORD
32 starts; 26-3-0
OTHER RIDERS TO WIN ON WINX
Jason Collett (twice)