Only now, as Hugh Bowman is on the verge of soaring into racing’s exclusive 100 Group 1 club, can he fully appreciate the sheer jaw-dropping greatness of Winx.
Bowman is on the brink of joining greats George Moore, Damien Oliver and Jim Cassidy as the only jockeys to ride 100 or more Group 1 winners.
Bowman, the boy from country Dunedoo who has become one of the greatest hoops the country has seen, can achieve the astonishing feat on Saturday at Eagle Farm when he rides two-year-old colt Port Louis in the JJ Atkins.
Whenever Bowman notches his 100th Group 1 winner, Winx will have accounted for a quarter of that mighty haul as the duo combined for 25 Group 1 wins.
As he prepares to soar into rarefied air with 100 Group 1 wins, Bowman said he can now fully appreciate Winx’s true greatness.
“What is a reality to me is just how good Winx was because I am now riding some of the best horses around, they win their races but they can’t sustain anything like the consistency that she did,” Bowman said.
“There’s a lot to it, it’s extraordinary really upon reflection, I guess I didn’t think about it as much at the time I was riding Winx as what I do now.
“Winx never had anything wrong with her and I didn’t have anything wrong with me in that period.
“One thing I know is that horseracing goes in waves and after five years of riding Winx, I guess I feel in some ways like I came back to the pack a little bit after she retired.
“You can only ride the horses you are riding, I’ve had a lot of close seconds this season in Group 1s.
“I feel like I’m in a good place at the moment, I feel like I’m riding really well and horses are running well for me.”
Hugh Bowman chalked up 99th Group 1 win last week aboard Duais in the Queensland Oaks. Picture: Trackside PhotographySource:Supplied
Bowman achieved the latest historic moment in his riding career when he gave Ed Cummings, the grandson of Bart, his first Group 1 when winning the Queensland Oaks on Duais last Saturday.
It was the 99th career Group 1 for Bowman and he said cracking the ton and joining an illustrious club would be a thrilling career milestone.
“It’s just so special, you have only got to look at the riders you have done it,” Bowman said.
“Words probably can‘t describe what it means to me.
“Just the raw numbers put you up there with the best of all time, what can I say about that?
“The numbers are a result of me doing my job and trying to give my horses the best chance I can and that’s what I will continue to do.
“My focus is more on continuing to be the best I can be, I’m trying not be too in awe of these other things.”
Hugh Bowman poses with a statue of Winx at The Valley. Picture: Tony GoughSource:News Corp Australia
Bowman has often had bad luck with barrier draws during the Queensland winter carnival and the curse struck again on Tuesday when Ciaron Maher and Dave Eustace trained youngster Port Louis drew the second widest barrier in the JJ Atkins (1600m).
Port Louis, last seen finishing third in the Group 2 BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes, remains well fancied and is the $4.60 second pick in the TAB betting market.
“I wouldn’t swap him for anything else,” Bowman declared.
“I love the horse, he has got charisma, he has got swagger and he has got breeding.
“He’s definitely in my opinion probably the one to beat but it’s hard to ignore the horse of Gai’s ($3.40 favourite Converge) that ran second the other day.
“The one thing about my horse, I did think he was slightly disappointing late in the race last time and that’s the only small thing that concerns me.
“But before that he was great in the Champagne Stakes at Randwick, he has had a lovely preparation for this race on Saturday.
“I won’t be as confident going into this race as I was the Oaks last Saturday, I know that’s easy to say that after the race but I was very confident with Duais.”
Port Louis is Bowman’s sole chance on Saturday to bring up 100 Group 1 winners as he doesn’t have a ride in the Stradbroke Handicap.
Originally published asWinx greatness sinks in as Hugh eyes century
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