Success for Bowman in Hong Kong
Australian ace Hugh Bowman held off his rivals and secured his first LONGINES International Jockeys' Championship victory at Happy Valley, Hong Kong on Wednesday.
Hugh Bowman poses with the winning trophy for the International Jockeys' Challenge.
Bowman's challenge had got off to the perfect start when taking the first leg on the John Size-trained Premiere to take the early lead on 12 points. Settled just off the pace in the perfect position, Premiere rattled home in the straight to win with a little in hand from Florent Geroux (6 points) aboard Secret Agent.
Pat Smullen on the Richard Gibson-trained Powermax, who slightly missed the break at the start, did best of the rest, getting up for third and four points.
"He enjoyed the sit off the pace, and came home well. I'm delighted to get off to a winning start," said the Australian.
Ryan Moore got his name on the score sheet in the second leg when running out the easy winner aboard the Tony Millard-trained favorite Giant Turtle, from Douglas Whyte on Danny Shum's Casa Master, while Joao Moreira picked up four points on Good Choice in third spot.
Thus after two legs, the points were shared between six different jockeys – Hugh Bowman and Ryan Moore with 12 points, Florent Geroux and Douglas Whyte with six points and Pat Smullen and Joao Moreira with four points apiece.
"He went well and did it nicely," said Moore. "It's good to get one on the board."
In a dramatic third leg, Bowman looked to be laying down a marker for the Championship when getting a dream run through in the straight on the David Ferraris-trained Kiram to take the lead, only to be nailed right on the wire by Mirco Demuro on the Peter Ho-trained Mutual Joy – the margin a short-head.
However, Bowman felt Kiram clipped heels with the leader about 350 metres out, which "might have cost me the race – it's a game of inches". There was a dead-heat for third between Florent Geroux (Works Of Art) and Ryan Moore (Midnite Promise), who shared two points apiece.
That left all to play for in the final leg, but none of Bowman's closest pursuers could reach the frame as Japan's Keita Tosaki took the honours aboard the John Size-trained Big Bang Bong, from Zac Purton's Vara Pearl in second and Douglas Whyte's Cheerful Boy in third, who crucially kept Ryan Moore out of the points by a nose.
Bowman's initial reaction appeared to be relief rather than excitement at his victory. He said: "I thought in the last either I had to beat Ryan or we both had to score no points, and he was on the even money favourite. In the run, I was supremely confident that my horse could run a place, but he didn't let down, and I must admit on the line I thought Ryan had run third, so it was an anxious few moments, but we got the victory."
Racing in Hong Kong next takes place at Sha Tin on Sunday with the big International races.
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