Trainer Chris Waller urged Hugh Bowman to launch a desperate 11th hour bid to retain the ride on Winx – despite the jockey himself conceding his chances were dashed – as the world’s best hoop relies on sympathetic ears either side of the Tasman to stay on the mare for next month’s Apollo Stakes.
Bowman is set to launch appeals against the severity of two suspensions within 24 hours as Waller’s stable retain the faintest hope n racing’s most recognisable partnership will be intact for Winx’s first start of a lucrative autumn campaign.
Despite conceding he wouldn’t challenge the severity of suspensions incurred at Warwick Farm on Day and Ellerslie’s rich Karaka Millions meeting a day later, Bowman had a change of heart on Monday after flying back into the country from a hit-and-run mission to Hong Kong.
Having originally brought forward his NSW suspension to start on Monday, it is now likely he will face the Racing NSW Appeals panel later this week in a bid to shave time off his ban.
He will need a combined three meetings to be lopped off in the appeals to have any chance of being in the saddle on February 17, when Winx will chase a 23rd straight win.
Waller’s phone went into meltdown over the weekend as the shock of Bowman forfeiting the raceday seat on the three-time Cox Plate winner, for the first time in more than two years, sparked jockeys into action the world over.
But Sydney’s seven-time premiership winning trainer was working behind the scenes as his staff clarified with stipes in and New Zealand the potential appeal requirements and outcomes for Bowman to stay on Winx.
He swiftly lodged his appeal with Racing NSW stewards but late on Monday was yet to officially confirm an objection to his New Zealand penalty.
Under Judicial Control Authority guidelines in New Zealand, appellants have three days from when a written decision is published on the control body’s website to appeal.
Bowman will have until the close of business on Thursday to confirm the appeal.
It is unlikely he will be required to fly to New Zealand to argue his case in person but can tender evidence via written submissions or teleconference.
Some bookmakers have suspended betting on the Apollo Stakes but Sportsbet have still listed Winx a $1.10 favourite to inch closer to toppling Black Caviar’s 25 consecutive wins.
It has also listed Brenton Avdulla the $2.50 favourite to be Bowman’s replacement on Winx ahead of Glyn Schofield ($3.60), Blake Shinn ($4.40) and Jason Collett ($5).
Waller is due to meet Winx’s part-owners, Peter Tighe and Debbie Kepitis, later this week to determine an alternative to Bowman, if needed, with Winx due to trial next Monday in her final public hit-out before the Apollo Stakes.