Winx needs new rider for 2018 Apollo Stakes

January 29, 2018

Winx needs new rider for 2018 Apollo Stakes

Champion mare Winx will require a new jockey when she resumes for her 2018 Autumn Carnival Campaign in the Group 2 $250,000 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on February 17.

Winx, above, will need a new rider to replace Hugh Bowman in the 2018 Apollo Stakes at Randwick. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

Winx, above, will need a new rider to replace Hugh Bowman in the 2018 Apollo Stakes at Randwick. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

Regular rider Hugh Bowman will be on the sidelines serving a double careless riding suspension as Winx lines up to try to win her third consecutive Apollo Stakes and her twenty-third win in succession.

Bowman was hit with a twelve day careless riding suspension from the Warwick Farm meeting last Friday and then received another eight days for causing interference while riding at the Karaka Million Race Day at Ellerslie on Saturday.

Trainer Chris Waller has been inundated with phone calls and voice messages from jockeys looking to be considered as Bowman’s replacement, but the premiership winning trainer said he and Winx’s connections won’t be rushed into making a hasty decision.

“I’ll go back and scratch it out with the owners and put a few suggestions forward,” Waller said in a TV interview from New Zealand.

Waller said that Bowman would be included in the decision making process to find his replacement on the world’s best race horse on turf.

“We’ll probably include Hugh Bowman in the decision as well because obviously there’s a lot of pressure involved with the rider of Winx, a lot of expectations,” Waller said.

“I don’t want to put any jockey in that situation that’s not comfortable with it. I don’t want him or her to think he or she may be the reason she doesn’t win.’

“At this stage I’ve been thinking about throwing my phone away. It’s been going off with messages from all over the world, which we are honoured by, as well as riders in Australia and New Zealand.”

Bowman and Winx have been inseparable since winning the Group 1 $1m The Star Epsom (1600m) at Randwick during the 2015 Sydney Spring Carnival, combining for nineteen wins, including the last three runnings of the Group 1 $3m Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley.

Winx’s managing owner Peter Tighe said the team is in no hurry to find a replacement rider for Winx but would be looking for a senior jockey who will be able to handle the pressure of riding Australia’s favourite race horse.

“We will be looking for a senior jockey who can handle the pressure and best suits the horse,” Tighe told RSN927.

“We don’t want to pick a jockey now and have something happen to them ahead of the race.”

“It’s too early to discuss a replacement at the minute. We have had a good run, but it had to happen eventually.”

Winx is well advanced into her preparation for her return to the race track in the Autumn and was held down to sixth place in a 900m barrier trial at Rosehill on January 22 with Bowman aboard.

The record breaking mare is due to have another barrier at Rosehill on February 5 in readiness for the Apollo Stakes return.

Winx was spelled after her history making win in the 2017 Ladbrokes Cox Plate which was her twenty-second consecutive win and took her overall record to twenty-six wins from thirty-two starts and lifted her prizemoney earnings to $15,627,925.

Early betting for the 2018 Ladbrokes Cox Plate at Ladbrokes.com.au has Winx as the $3 favourite to make it four weight for age championships in a row.

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