Bowman-Godolphin combo chase more features

By: Mandy Cottell Friday 28 February 2020

Hugh Bowman has been dynamic for Godolphin and the combination is set for more carnival glory with two live Group One chances at Randwick.

Bowman links with proven weight-for-age campaigner Avilius in Saturday's Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) and top filly Flit in the Surround Stakes (1400m).

Two weeks ago Bowman and James Cummings teamed up for a feature race double at Randwick with Alizee in the Apollo Stakes and Flit in the Light Fingers and the champion jockey is rapt to again link with the in-form team.

"Godolphin, I've had some luck for them but the stable is just on fire," Bowman said.

Bowman is also in a fine vein of form.

He has booted home nine city winners this month, including a treble on Apollo Stakes day and a double at Rosehill last weekend.

The Chipping Norton (1600m) is a race he has dominated for almost a decade with seven wins from the past nine editions, including the past four on Winx.

In the spring, such a race might have brought up memories of the superstar mare, but not any more.

Bowman has come to terms with her retirement and the void it left.

"I do think about her but I've moved on. I found in the spring I just lacked a bit of enthusiasm, I was feeling a bit empty after all the emotion that went with riding her, the amount of publicity that came with it, the whole package," Bowman said.

"But I had to go through that and I have.

"I'm not feeling like I was in the spring, I'm feeling a lot better. I'm enjoying it."

A high-class field has been assembled for the Chipping Norton headed by Happy Clapper, New Zealander Te Akau Shark, dual Group One winner Fierce Impact and tough competitor Dreamforce, who has blinkers back on.

Bowman would prefer a rain-affected track for Avilius but expects the horse to be competitive regardless.

"He's a good horse without it, he can win without the wet track, but if it was wet I would be even more confident," Bowman said.

"It's a very good race this year, a very open race.

"I guess Winx diluted the field a bit over the last couple of years, but even before that it was often a race that lacked a bit of depth.

"That said, it does take a Group One horse to win it."

Bowman will be out to maintain his perfect record aboard Avilius who he has ridden once for a Group Two victory at Caulfield.

Happy Clapper's trainer Pat Webster informed stewards on Friday the horse would be ridden forward with the plan to sit outside expected race leader Dreamforce.