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Jockey Hugh Bowman admits he is “blown away” by the current condition and improvement still to come from Chris Waller’s 2016 Randwick Guineas bound colt Press Statement this Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
A dual Group 1 winning son of Hinchinbrook, Press Statement won the JJ Atkins in Brisbane as a two-year-old and scored his second elite level success in Melbourne’s Caulfield Guineas over the mile in the spring.
The three-year-old returned to racing last weekend at Rosehill and was far too good for his rivals saluting as the odds-on favourite by over two lengths first-up in the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m).
Bowman, who rode the horse for his Stan Fox – Caulfield Guineas winning double last time in, was also aboard for the Hobartville Stakes and was more than impressed with what Press Statement showed ahead of tougher runs this campaign.
“He took me by surprise,” Bowman told Racing Ahead on RSN.
“We all expected him to run well, and Chris [Waller] had him forward enough to perform very well first-up.
“He’s obviously a valuable colt, a dual Group 1 winner already … it’s very important for these horses to keep their record at a premium.
“But I didn’t expect him to race quite as well as he did.
“I worked him during the week, he gave me a nice feel, but I was actually blown away with his performance, and I can only see him improving on that.”
The hoop rode Hallowed Crown to victory in last year’s Hobartville Stakes as well as the $1 million Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) next start and will shoot for the same double with Press Statement this year.
Running on March 5, the Randwick Guineas is the next-up target for Press Statement who is also set to head towards the $500,000 Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) against a field of older rivals at Rosehill Gardens on Golden Slipper Day, March 19.
Bowman has ridden two previous George Ryder Stakes winners with Court’s In Session (2005) and Danleigh (2010), the latter prepared by Press Statement’s trainer Waller.
Waller took out the race three times on the trot with Danleigh’s success followed by Rangirangdoo (2011) and Metal Bend (2012).
All-in Randwick Guineas betting at bookmakers around the country have Press Statement as the odds-on favourite to win again.
He is the clear top fancy at around $1.50 with the next best in betting Vanbrugh at a far juicier $13.
Encosta De Lago colt Vanbrugh is also prepared by Waller and is a Group 1 winner having taken out last October’s Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Randwick.
He too resumed in the Hobartville on February 20 but could only manage to finish over five and a half lengths away 10th behind his star stablemate from the outside alley (13 of 13).
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