In-form hoop Hugh Bowman will partner the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Almoonqith in the 2016 Sydney Cup this weekend at Royal Randwick Racecourse after the galloper’s regular rider Michael Walker was ruled out with injury.
Bowman hit the headlines last Saturday on Day 1 of ‘The Championships’ when his ace mount Winx made history carrying 56.5kg to victory in the $3 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m).
While her trainer Chris Waller has ruled out a back-up for the star Street Cry four-year-old in this weekend’s $4 million Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m), Bowman still has plenty of rides to be excited about on the card.
One of those is aboard Dyanformer six-year-old Almoonqith in the $2 million Group 1 Schweppes Sydney Cup (3200m) over the two miles.
Waller is set to saddle-up the first three in Sydney Cup betting at Ladbrokes.com.au with last year’s runner-up Who Shot Thebarman leading markets over last weekend’s Chairman’s Handicap winner Libran and the defending Sydney Cup champ Grand Marshal.
Almoonqith meanwhile is the next best fancied in the Sydney Cup odds set to carry a very manageable 54.5kg.
Winner over the distance in the Listed Sandown Cup (3200m) with 59kg last November, the imported stallion has had three unplaced runs since.
The latest was a sixth behind Waller’s new Queen Elizabeth Stakes favourite on Saturday Preferment in the Group 1 The BMW (2400m).
At weight-for-age in The BMW, Almoonqith carried 59kg with Walker aboard and was beaten just under five lengths.
Walker however has been ruled out of riding indefinitely after suffering a severe concussion following an at-home slip.
“I haven’t had the chance to speak to Michael yet but I understand he has concussion and won’t be able to ride this week,” Almoonqith’s co-trainer Hayes told The Daily Telegraph.
“It is shocking luck for Michael as he was due to ride Almoonqith in the Sydney Cup and Criterion in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
“They are two big rides to have to miss particularly as both horses have been set for this race and I think they will be very hard to beat.”
The rise in distance, drop in weight and the booking of Bowman however are all big ticks as the Lindsay Park-raced stayer Almoonqith looks to upset Waller from securing back-to-back Sydney Cup wins.
Bowman chases his second Sydney Cup triumph after riding the Robert Hickmott-trained Mourayan to victory back in 2013.
As for the stable’s big home in the Queen Elizabeth Criterion, Hayes confirmed Tommy Berry would replace Walker in the saddle of the reigning champ who comes off a third in the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m).
Criterion is looking to secure two consecutive Queen Elizabeth Stakes victories for the first time since Grand Armee (2004-05).
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