This Saturday in Melbourne jockey Hugh Bowman chases back-to-back wins in the Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas 2016 and is warming to his mount Good Standing.
Twelve months ago the Sydney-based Bowman enjoyed a win in the three-years-old classic aboard the Chris Waller-trained Press Statement (2015) who became the second horse in as many years to complete the Stan Fox – Caulfield Guineas double.
This Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival Bowman is back and jumps aboard the James Cummings-trained Artie Schiller colt Good Standing in Saturday’s $1 million Group 1 Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas (1600m).
During the autumn he rode the smart galloper for all three of his runs including the Group 2 Skyline Stakes (1200m) win and the fifth to Yankee Rose in the Group 1 ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Randwick.
This time in Good Standing has had three runs ridden twice by Glyn Schofield and last time out by Rory Hutchings for his close third when only 1.1 lengths off the winner Impending in the Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes (1500m).
Bowman returns to the saddle for the Group 1 mile bid on the weekend and believes the step up in distance will suit.
“I’m starting to warm to him,” Bowman told Racenet.
“I’ve always had a big opinion of him and was always confident he’d make a really good miler.
“Whilst I haven’t ridden him this preparation my opinion hasn’t changed.”
Good Standing jumps from out wide in barrier 11 of 14 looking to be the first winner from the gate since Whobegotyou (2008), but Bowman is happy to stay out of trouble from the double-digit draw after riding Press Statement to victory from gate 14 of 16 in last year’s race.
“I don’t mind the wide draw either,” Bowman added.
“Unless the pressure comes from underneath I imagine I’ll slide across and settle somewhere in the first four.”
In the latest Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes odds at the race sponsor Ladbrokes.com.au Good Standing pays $8.50 to turn the tables on the Stan Fox Stakes quinella of Impending (1st) and Divine Prophet (2nd) who lead the markets at quotes of $4.80 and $5 respectively.
“The Sydney form looks the right benchmark,” Bowman said.
“And he doesn’t need to improve much off what he’s been doing. He just needs a bit of luck.”
Bowman’s other Guineas ride on the weekend is on the Waller-trained favourite Foxplay ($3.20) in the $500,000 Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m).
She comes off back-to-back Group 2 wins in Sydney, but Bowman has some concerns about how the daughter of Foxwedge will handle the Caulfield circuit.
“If it was Flemington I wouldn’t be concerned but having her first go the Melbourne way around Caulfield is always a worry,” he said.
“Her racing style could work against her. She doesn’t lead and she doesn’t swoop, so she’ll likely be mid-pack and that is the concern.
“She doesn’t quicken until she’s well balanced. But she’s a sensible filly, straightforward.”
One thing Bowman isn’t worried about his Foxplay’s ability to run out the mile on the weekend in her first look at the distance.
“The 1600 metres won’t be a problem,” he said.
“In fact I think she’ll appreciate it.”