The colt who recently sent Hugh Bowman crashing to the turf will carry the champion jockey’s hopes of a first win in one of Sydney’s signature races.
Bowman has 77 Group One wins on his record in some of the world’s best races but success in the $3.5 million Golden Slipper in his home city has eluded him.
He rides the Chris Waller-trained Performer in Saturday’s Golden Slipper at Rosehill having fallen from the colt when the two-year-old ducked out sharply in the closing stages of the Todman Stakes at Randwick on March 10.
Bowman suffered a concussion but is clear to ride and returned to the saddle this week.
“I haven’t been on Performer since I came off him,” Bowman said.
“So I’m looking forward to reuniting with him.”
Bowman says Performer is a quality horse and while he’s unsure what caused the colt to do what he did in the Todman he says there are no nerves about getting back on him.
“He obviously reacted to something the other day, and that doesn’t concern me,” he said.
“It wasn’t as though he shied. I think something just upset him.
“Whether it was my riding or, I don’t know what it was really.
“I just don’t expect him to do it again.”
Bowman rates Slipper favourite Sunlight as the benchmark but also believes the race is wide open and has confidence in Performer.
“It’s probably the most open Golden Slipper I’ve seen for 10 years or more,” he said.
“I think Performer is one of the best chances I’ve had going into the race for quite some time.
“Although every year I try to talk myself into thinking I’ve got a winning chance the reality is my last winning chance was probably Meurice who I rode for Gai Waterhouse into third place in 2007.
“So it’s exciting to go into the race with a genuine top contender. But it’s a very even race and luck’s going to play a big part.”
Performer is one of two Slipper starters for Sydney’s premier trainer Waller along with filly Fiesta and both have drawn wide.
Performer races in blinkers for the first time having worn them in a barrier trial win under Kerrin McEvoy last week.
Bowman was impressed by the trial.
“He had the blinkers on and my gut feeling is they probably would have gone on anyway for the Golden Slipper regardless of what happened in the Todman,” Bowman said.
“He gave us a great deal of confidence from the first time I sat on him in the first official trials at the beginning of the season. I’m very excited about his prospects.
“I was a little flattened when I saw barrier 16 but with the likely rain-affected track it might just nullify that bad draw a little bit.”