Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
Jockey Hugh Bowman has two weeks off from the Winx machine and said he wouldn’t be surprised to see his ride in Saturday’s icon race The Everest winning.
The pressure has been on Bowman this spring especially as the hype on Chris Waller’s Hall of Fame mare Winx builds with each turf triumph.
Constantly in the spotlight when donning the Magic Bloodstock silks and riding the country’s best racehorse, Bowman said he was looking forward to flying under the radar in Sydney this weekend.
There will still be plenty of media attention and a bumper crowd trackside at Royal Randwick as the Australian Turf Club unveils its latest showcase race – the $10 million The Everest (1200m) – but it is unlikely to be centred on Bowman and his ride Clearly Innocent.
“It’s nice to be on a headline horse, I’ve become accustomed to that, but it is a little more relaxing I must admit,” Bowman told Racing NSW.
This slot-race has surpassed all other races run on turf prizemoney wise and has well and truly stolen the spotlight from Melbourne’s Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas Day for its inaugural running.
Due to jump as Randwick Race 8 at 4:15pm (AEST), The Everest field features a star-studded line-up of 12 super sprinters.
Seven are previous Group 1 winners and five are under $10 to win in the latest The Everest odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
At a more generous price of $14 is the Kris Lees-trained Clearly Innocent who comes up against the likes of Moir Stakes winning filly She Will Reign ($4.80) and the ‘Grey Flash’ Chautauqua ($5.50) on Saturday.
“I’m going into the race on a genuine 10/1 shot but I’m looking forward to the challenge,” Bowman said.
Clearly Innocent, a six-year-old Not A Single Doubt gelding, represents Damion Flower in the race.
He may not hold as high a profile as many of his rivals, but the Cressfield-owned galloper is certainly no donkey having won over $1.2 million in prize money thanks mainly to his Group 1 Kingsford-Smithy Cup (1300m) success at Eagle Farm this winter.
Next up he finished third in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1350m), also in Brisbane, with Bowman aboard for both.
“He’s not really a headline horse but he impressed me so much in Brisbane,” Bowman said.
First-up this time in Clearly Innocent and Bowman reunited at Randwick on September 30 in the Group 2 Premiere Stakes (1200m).
In Her Time won that Epsom Handicap Day event impressively, but missed out on start in The Everest sitting as the first emergency.
Second past the post making up all the late ground was the Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained mare English, an $11 chance in The Everest betting this weekend after drawing the outside barrier.
Clearly Innocent was third past the post, beaten just over a length, and will be improving fitness-wise looking to add to his smart second-up record (4-2-1-0).
“He was just getting going as the race closed out,” Bowman said of Cleary Innocent’s run in the Premiere Stakes.
“I’m not saying I would have beaten the other two but if I had a clear crack at them I would have been a real eye-catcher.
“A bit of moisture around this week, if we can get a bit more give in the ground than we had last start will certainly help.”
Clearly Innocent is also drawn a treat midfield in barrier six for The Everest and, after reeling off good late sectionals in the Premiere Stakes, is a genuine upset hope despite perhaps looking for more metres.
“Can he win the Everest? I wouldn’t say I’m expecting him to win but it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if he does,” Bowman declared.
“It’s not so much about what he’s beaten or what he’s done he just gives me a great feel. He’s very athletic, he has a beautiful stride and covers a lot of ground.”
“He has a good engine, he can really gallop and although his best performance was on a questionable track I can’t ignore what I felt.
“I think he is a genuine Group 1 horse and that’s what it is going to take to win the race.
“I truly believe his best trip might be a little further than the 1200m but when it comes down to it, it might be a test of stamina. So that influenced me towards this horse.”
To back Clearly Innocent for an upset The Everest 2017 result head to Ladbrokes.com.au today.
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