Champion jockey Hugh Bowman wants to find some continuity and momentum with his riding after an eventful and controversial start to the season.
Bowman makes his comeback to Sydney racing at Rosehill Gardens on Friday then Kembla Grange on Saturday after competing in Melbourne for six weeks during the spring carnival.
He is still self-isolating and can’t reunite with his young family until later next week but his immediate focus is to start riding regularly, keep out of the stewards room, stay injury-free and begin his climb up the Sydney premiership rankings.
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Kolding (left) ridden by Hugh Bowman gallops with Olmedo at trackwork. Picture: Pat Scala/Racing Photos via Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Bowman has six rides at Rosehill and a full book for the Kembla meeting including Olmedo in the $1 million The Gong (1600m).
After almost four months of the 2020-21 season, Bowman has only had 40 Sydney rides for five wins which leaves him outside the top 10 standings, a reflection of the various issues which have thwarted him this spring.
“I’m actually just looking forward to rolling the sleeves up and getting some continuity back home as it’s been a stop-start season for me,’’ Bowman told The Daily Telegraph.
“I want to build some momentum and get ready for the Magic Millions in January as that is a huge race meeting.
“In Melbourne, I thought I rode well but found it a bit difficult at times as I didn’t feel I had the momentum due to the long suspension early on, then there was the Farnan business and I got suspended again.’’
Bowman’s Melbourne suspension cost him the winning ride on Sir Dragonet in the Cox Plate. He also rode Anthony Van Dyck to a close second in the Caulfield Cup and was in the saddle when the Irish stayer suffered a catastrophic leg injury in the Melbourne Cup.
The Hall of Fame jockey also rode Group 1 minor placings on Nature Strip (second in the Darley Sprint Classic) and Montefilia (third in the VRC Oaks).
Bowman still managed to win stakes races on Fiesta twice (Northwood Plume Stakes and Begonia Belle Stakes), Wild Planet (Begonia Belle Stakes), and True Self (Queen Elizabeth Stakes).
Hugh Bowman wins the Group 1 Flight Stakes on Montefilia. Picture Grant GuySource:The Daily Telegraph
But Bowman is keen to put those disappointing near-misses in Melbourne behind him and believes he can kickstart his Sydney season on the Chris Waller-trained Olmedo ($12) in The Gong.
Olmedo won the Group 1 French 2000 Guineas two years ago and although he has been unplaced in two Australian starts since joining the Waller stable, Bowman is convinced the six-year-old has the class and talent to be in the finish at Kembla Grange.
Bowman has never ridden Olmedo before but got a handle on the import during a trackwork session in Melbourne last month.
“I was riding Kolding in a track gallop at Moonee Valley and he was struggling to work with Olmedo,’’ Bowman said.
“I don’t think Olmedo raced as well as he was working (sixth in the Cantala Stakes) but he is a horse that really impresses me.
“The Gong is an open race but if Olmedo races like he was working in Melbourne he will be winning.
“Whether he is ready to transfer that to the races I’m not sure. These international horses, some just hit the ground running and others take a preparation or two to reach their potential.
“That is not something I can tell at this point about Olmedo but I’m certainly pleased to be on him.’’
Bowman is looking forward to reuniting with Godolphin colt Destination ($2.70 favourite) when he takes on older horses in the Benchmark 78 Handicap (1000m) at the Kembla meeting.
Destination and Hugh Bowman (right) finishes a close second to Wild Ruler in the Brian Crowley Stakes. Picture: Mark Evans/Getty ImagesSource:Supplied
Destination left a good impression on Bowman after losing narrowly to Wild Ruler in the Heritage Stakes two starts back before struggling in wet conditions when fourth to The Bopper in the Brian Crowley Stakes.
“When Destination ran behind Wild Ruler it was a really good run,’’ Bowman said.
“It was a fast race, a high quality race, and Destination, although he didn’t have any excuses, he put the writing on the wall as a horse who is up to better things.
“Getting back on top of the ground might be the key for Destination. James (Cummings, trainer) took a more conservative path with the colt after the Heritage but I don’t think he would have been out of place in the Coolmore, that is the sort of level I think he is at.’’
Bowman’s other rides at the Kembla meeting include Godolphin’s Amercement ($11) in the Benchmark 78 Handicap (1200m), and highly-rated duo Air To Air in the Benchmark 72 Handicap (1500m) and Wichita Warrior ($5) in the TAB Highway (1600m).
He can mark his Sydney return at the Rosehill twilight meeting where he has six rides including the John O’Shea-trained Don Arcangelo ($5.50, race 1) and Bergen ($18, race 7). The trainer and jockey combined with a double at Flemington on Oaks Day with Berbidek.
ROCK IS READY TO ROLL IN THE GONG
Trainer Michael Hawkes has dismissed any suggestions Rock is suspect at a mile on the eve of the $1 million The Gong (1600m) at Kembla Grange on Saturday.
The talented Rock has been winless in four attempts over the distance although they have all been at Group 1 level and include a last start third in the Cantala Stakes.
But Hawkes is adamant Rock will run a strong 1600m provided there is a solid tempo and a firm racing surface.
With The Gong attracting a capacity field of 16, the pace should be genuine and the Kembla course proper rating in the good range, those crucial variables are in Rock’s favour.
“Rock got held up for three or four strides at Flemington, if he doesn’t get held up he is close to winning at Group 1 at 1600m,’’ Hawkes said.
“He ran fifth in an Epsom last year over a mile on a wet track which he doesn’t like then he ran seventh in the Epsom this spring on another track which was a touch soft so his form at the mile is quite good.
Rock (Orange) was an unlucky third behind Yulong Prince in the Group 1 Cantala Stakes over 1600m. Picture: George Salpigtidis/Racing Photos via Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
“It’s just that he needs a hard, fast track and he will appreciate the big Kembla track. The horse looks well, if he gets some luck in running he will be hard to beat.’’
Rock is on the third line of betting at $6.50 for The Gong behind favourite Purple Sector ($4.40) and Dawn Passage ($4.80).
Hawkes, who trains in partnership with his father, John, and brother, Wayne, will also saddle up Archedemus ($31) in Kembla’s richest race.
Archedemus has been placed in two of his three starts since resuming including his last start second in the Ladies Day Cup at Hawkesbury which gives the Hawkes stable confidence the gelding can run competitively in The Gong.
“We feel Archedemus is right there, we have aimed him at this race all along,’’ Hawkes said.
“He races on the speed so he should be able to roll forward early from his barrier (13). He has got back to a bit of form and this is a nice race.’’
Rock and Archedemus are Team Hawkes only starters at the Kembla meeting but they have a busy day on Friday with three runners at Rosehill – Skywolf (race 2), The Bald Eagle (race 4) and Snowfire (race 7). All three are raced by syndicates led by Rupert Legh of Chautauqua fame.
Archedemus will join Rock in a two-pronged attack on The Gong for Team Hawkes. Picture: Grant GuySource:The Daily Telegraph
“Skywolf has spent most of his time in Melbourne but he ran well at his first start (third at Echuca), he looks good and this is a nice race for him,’’ Hawkes said.
“The Bald Eagle is in his right race and he can run well. Snowfire did a great job last preparation and his trial was good the other day. He might be looking for a touch further but he will be competitive.’’
The Hawkes stable also has two runners at the Moonee Valley Friday night meeting with unbeaten three-year-old filly Passionate Lass (race 1) and Zougazem (race 5).
Passionate Lass was a brilliant winner of her only start at Mornington while Zougazem followed his debut win at Pakenham with a good third at Moonee Valley last start.
“I thought Passionate Lass did everything right at her debut, she has drawn well in a small field and should be hard to beat,’’ Hawkes said.
“Zougazem is a nice horse going forward but he has drawn a bit awkward and just needs some luck.’’
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Sky Racing News Update: 19th November 2020.
Originally published asBowman wants to get Sydney season back on track
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