Winx rider Hugh Bowman gets 20-day ban – for going too fast!

Horse Racing Hugh Bowman jockey
Hugh Bowman: vowed to clear after being handed 20-day ban. Photo: Racing and Sports

By Nicholas Godfrey

Australia: Winx’s jockey Hugh Bowman has been handed a swingeing 20-day suspension – on his first day back riding in Sydney after a six-week ban for a notorious careless riding incident in July.

Bowman’s latest alleged misdemeanour came on Saturday when he was found to have gone too fast on beaten favourite Farnan, the Golden Slipper winner, in the G2 Run To The Rose at Rosehill. 

The 40-year-old jockey, who pleaded not guilty, was charged under the rule stating that “a rider must take all reasonable and permissible measures throughout the race to ensure that the rider’s horse is given full opportunity to win or to obtain the best possible place in the field”. He received the 20-day ban after a two-hour meeting by Racing NSW stewards on Thursday.

Bowman, who has never before been sanctioned over a ‘handling’ charge, vowed to clear his name.  He immediately lodged an appeal against the decision, which is set to rule him out for nearly three weeks and means he will miss four G1 events – including three on the lucrative Epsom Handicap card at Randwick on October 3.

Winx jockey Hugh Bowman banned for six weeks over horrific race fall

Saturday’s card at Rosehill marked Bowman’s return to the saddle for the first time since he was banned in July for his role in the horrific fall that left fellow jockey Andrew Adkins in hospital with serious injuries including a collapsed lung and seven broken ribs.

He was called into the stewards’ room for his efforts on 7-5 favourite Farnan in the Run To The Rose, the main trial for the A$ 1million Golden Rose on September 26.

Bowman was adjudged to have gone too fast in front and not made sufficient effort to restrain the three-year-old – trained by the Gai Waterhouse/Adrian Bott partnership – before folding in the closing stages to be beaten nearly four lengths into fifth behind Rothfire in the 6f contest.

After connections were interviewed at the track, the inquiry was adjourned while betting and sectional times were reviewed. There were no abnormal betting patterns but sectionals revealed that Farnan had travelled 12.8 lengths faster than average in the first 800 metres.

According to Racenet, chief steward Marc Van Gestel labelled the ride “as aggressive as I’ve seen you on a horse out of the gates” on raceday. 

Bowman, whose appeal will be heard next week, strongly disagreed with the stewards’ findings, saying he had ridden aggressively to try to control the race.

He will be able to ride at Randwick on Saturday and at the Golden Rose meeting seven days later before beginning his penalty on September 27.

“What can’t be determined despite all the mathematical genius is how the horse is travelling underneath me,” Bowman said. “He probably wouldn’t have beaten Rothfire in all seriousness but had he come back a length and relaxed for me, it wouldn’t have looked so bad.

“I am doing my best to steady him and relax him and slow him back,” he added. “If I start to fight him to slow him down it‘s not going to help him finish the race off.”

• More Australian news at the Racing and Sports website and the Racing NSW website

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