Jockey Hugh Bowman is keen to reunite with the Joe Pride-trained Terravista this Saturday when the world’s equal highest-rated sprinter returns to racing in the 2015 Newmarket Handicap at Flemington Racecourse.
During the spring Bowman partnered with Pride’s brilliant Captain Rio five-year-old for two of his four starts winning both times including last start in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) down the Flemington straight on November 8.
Now Bowman gets back in the saddle for the galloper’s first-up assignment at the same track this weekend in the $1 million Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) on Super Saturday.
To date this season Bowman has enjoyed five Group 1 wins, the most of any hoop so far.
His fifth was just last Saturday after Golden Rose winner Hallowed Crown returned with a super win in the Randwick Guineas, one of five weekend winners for Bowman.
That was just a warm-up however for Bowman’s ace ride on Terravista, a horse the jockey has labelled his key player of the autumn.
“He’s my main horse after his performance in the spring, but obviously Hallowed Crown is making inroads into that,” Bowman told Racing And Sports this week.
“Terravista is my linchpin at the moment.”
Bowman has great confidence in the horse’s first-up ability in the Newmarket Handicap after partnering him for two Warwick Farm trials in February including a win over 800m, Terravista also undefeated first-up with four previous wins when resuming.
“He is a lightly raced horse and Joe identified this race since he won the Darley Classic in the spring,” Bowman said.
“I have ridden in two trials and I’m very happy with how he is feeling.”
No horse has won the Newmarket Handicap first-up since Polycrates back in 1917 giving Terravista a big hoodoo to overcome on the weekend.
The main danger to Terravista in the Newmarket Handicap is four-time Group 1 winner Lankan Rupee, who won the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes over 1000m last start on February 21.
Lankan Rupee however is the 58.5kg Newmarket Handicap top weight, kilos not carried to victory since Hay List (2012) set the metric weight-carrying record in the race three years ago.
Terravista on the other hand has 56.5kg, and while Pride isn’t happy with the allocation, Bowman believes it could be enough of an advantage over Lankan Rupee to win.
“Although he gets weight relief [of two kilograms] off Lankan Rupee, I’m not sure whether he is worthy of a bit more relief, but having said that, Terravista did beat him at weight-for-age in the spring,” Bowman said.
“Lankan Rupee does have a better record than him overall but we are ready for the challenge.
“Some form and analysis people would argue that to win a Newmarket first-up will be an uphill battle, but [Terravista’s] first-up record speaks for itself.”
Despite the weight, Pride is also banking on Terravista’s first-up record.
“When I program my horses, I don’t look at history,” he said.
“I know what Terravista can do first-up and I’m very confident with him fresh.
“There is improvement in him but he is very fit and ready to go.”
On Newmarket Handicap Day Bowman also has a prized mount in the meeting’s other feature riding triple Melbourne Cup runner-up Red Cadeaux in the $1 million Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) and for the remainder of the import’s autumn down under.
His other notable ride on the card is Crown Oaks winner Set Square in the $150,000 Group 3 Schweppervescence Trophy (1600m) before Bowman heads to Hong Kong for Sunday’s Derby ride on Helene Happy Star.
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