On Friday two of Australia’s leading jockeys, Glyn Schofield and Hugh Bowman, had their appeals against careless riding suspensions rejected but are free to ride at today’s Stradbroke Handicap Day at Eagle Farm, both engaged for the marquee race at the meeting.
Bowman and Schofield were both charged by Racing Queensland stewards for rides at last Saturday’s Queensland Oaks Day at Eagle Farm and after losing their appeals they are seeking an elite level Brisbane Winter Carnival success before starting their bans.
South African-born Schofield, most famous in Australian racing circles for his riding association with gun galloper and dual Group 1 winner Hay List, will be out for eight meetings for his ride aboard ninth-placed Tim Martin-trained filly Fibrillation in the Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2400m).
Schofield will first complete his duties at Eagle Farm today where he has seven rides on the bumper eight-race, all black-type programme.
His plum mount of the day is aboard the Robert Heathcote-trained Buffering in the $1 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m).
Mossman three-year-old Buffering showed promise early on this prep winning the Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m) on April 30 before his brave, albeit big loss, when third to Black Caviar in the Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) on May 14.
Last start, however, Buffering stepped up to 1350m for the first time and was unable to beat home any runner when over nine lengths away last behind impressive Group 1 Doomben 10,000 winner Beaded on May 28.
Today in the 2011 AAMI Stradbroke Handicap, the Peter Snowden-trained Beaded is the equal favourite along with 10,000 placegetters Love Conquers All and Black Piranha.
Buffering, meanwhile, is rated a $41 outsider in the market despite having drawn well mid-field.
Heathcote is willing to draw a line right through Buffering’s run in the Doomben 10,000 and believes that the gelding will race well today so long as they get to the 1400m.
“I’m willing to forgive his 10,000 run,” Heathcote said.
“Larry Cassidy (jockey) totally stuffed up the ride.
“I understand why he took a sit, tried to shove Beaded in a hole, but the horse is better when allowed free rein.
“He’ll race right on the speed (in the Stradbroke), probably even lead.
“The 1400 metres is the obvious query with him but he is dropping down to 52 kilograms, it is significant.”
Hugh Bowman lost an appeal against a shorter four-meeting suspension, charged with causing interference when riding Tony Gollan’s Toowoomba-trained colt Spirit Of Boom in last Saturday’s $125,000 Listed Daybreak Lover Plate (1400m).
He did, however, mange to have his penalty cut to three meetings.
With two of Bowman’s Stradbroke Handicap Day rides scratched, the jockey is left with four mounts at Eagle Farm today, after which he will jet off to England for a six-week riding sting for European trainer Mick Channon.
Bowman is set to jump on $500,000 Group 1 TJ Smith (1600m) favourite Hot Snitzel, but his big ride of the day will be in the Stradbroke aboard dual defending champion Black Piranha.
Sentimental favourite to make history with an unprecedented third success Stradbroke Handicap win, veteran galloper Black Piranha has a nice inside draw for today’s showdown and has firmed into $6.50.