Stewards gift Hugh Bowman with Winx ride

Hugh Bowman
Hugh Bowman is cleared to ride Winx after escaping serious punishment despite not riding out his mount at Randwick

RIDING out your horse to its fullest is riding 101 for most jockeys, so why does repeat offender Hugh Bowman continue to get away with it?

Bowman was handed a one week suspension and a slap on the wrist fine for failing to ride out Realise Potential in the Gary Montgomery Handicap at Randwick on Wednesday, but we fail to see the stewards’ reasoning behind the decision.

Less than a month ago Bowman was fined $600 for the same offence after failing to ride out Olympic Academy, which could and probably should have put his autumn carnival in doubt, but he continues to escape any harsh penalty.

“Your record is not a good one and there is a number of offences in the last twelve months to which you have pleaded not guilty to which of course is your right,” acting chief steward Ray Livingstone said.

“We look at the circumstances of the case… your actions certainly compromise your chances of running second outright.

“We say it should be an easy rule to adhere to.

“Ride them right out to the line and put it beyond doubt.”

It just so happens that Hugh Bowman is scheduled to ride champion mare Winx in the Chipping Norton Stakes in two weeks, so any suspension longer than a week would mean a new jockey would have to be found.

We don’t think suspensions should be circumstantial and the very thought of that shows the elitist attitude of stewards in Australia.

After this decision, stewards will have no right or reason to give another jockey a longer suspension than a week. There have been countless apprentice jockeys that have been handed the book for failing to ride out their mount, yet if you’re Australia’s best jockey you have the right to escape punishment?

Bowman, whilst one of the most talented jockeys Australia has seen, is a serial offender for not giving his mount every chance in the run. The incident on Wednesday cost his runner a chance at running second outright and he was lucky, in our opinion, to escape with the win on Invader earlier in the day.

We’ll give Bowman the benefit of doubt for that ride as Invader had its head to the side, but Bowman showed a lack of vigor over the last 50m and it almost cost him the race as Savatiano was flashing down the outside rail.

Bowman will ride Winx in the Chipping Norton Stakes, Chris Waller won’t have to find another jockey to handle the pressure and Winx will likely continue its winning streak, but is Australian racing all about protecting those at the top?

The amount of revenue Winx produces is quite astounding and taking its regular rider out of commission could put that in jeopardy, but Winx is brilliant and good enough to win with any rider in the saddle.

Stewards must stand up and punish jockeys on an even playing field. It’s a miscarriage of justice to punish one jockey differently for the same crime, but we fear this will continue to happen with the current integrity model in Australian racing.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments