CHAMPION Australian jockey Hugh Bowman has been trusted to ride talented two-year-old Padraig in Sunday’s Karaka Million at Ellerslie.
The son of Power was a stylish last start winner at Trentham and enters the $1 million race as the $5 favourite at Sportsbet.com.au.
Cambridge-based trainer Brendon Hawtin said it’s never easy to take jockeys off, after Matthew Cameron ride it to victory last start, but he was happy when Bowman agreed to ride.
“It’s never easy taking jockeys off, but Tommy Heptinstall (Padraig’s principal owner) did say that if we got to the Karaka Million he would love to have Hugh ride him. Very rarely do plans go that well!” Hawtin said.
“Hopefully Hugh will get him in a good spot and he will be making big bounds late, whether he is good enough to win we will have to see.”
Not having experience at Ellerslie can often be detrimental to a horses’ chances and after drawing wide in barrier 12, Hawtin was taking the positive approach.
“When it first came out it was – ‘oh no’, but I don’t think it is all that bad,” Hawtin said.
“He might end up getting a bit further back than we want to. But the good thing is, his pattern of racing is not going to change.”
Bowman and Hawtin combined to finish second in the Karaka Million in 2012 when Silk Pins was unable to gather in Australian runner Ockham’s Razor.
“He ran second in the race on a filly of ours, Silk Pins,” Hawtin said.
At that time Hawtin was training in partnership with his father Keith, but after Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young moved to Melbourne, a spot at the Cambridge stables opened up.
“When Trent and Natalie moved to Melbourne it was the perfect opportunity,” Hawtin said. “We’ve still got the Te Awamutu stable and Keith is a massive part of things.
“I met Tommy Heptinstall through Trent and he bought Padraig last year as a Karaka Million horse. Thankfully, when they went to Cranbourne the owners were happy to give him to me.”
Having a runner in the high-profile Karaka Million will help boost the profile of the fledgling trainer.
“A lot will hinge on Sunday night. Just having a runner is good, as people can see I can get a horse to the race,” Hawtin said.
“If he was to win it could open a few doors.”