Hugh Bowman and Winx are an inseparable team

Hugh Bowman and Winx are an inseparable team

Bronwen Healy / Racingfotos.com

Winx to Bypass Apollo as Bowman Serves Suspension

Champion mare will launch 2018 campaign March 3 in Chipping Norton.

Hugh Bowman has ridden Winx 22 times, for 21 wins. They've got a good thing going.

So the champion racemare will wait for her partner and chase the AU$600,000 TAB Chipping Norton Stakes (G1) March 3 at Royal Randwick rather than racing Feb. 17 in the Apollo Stakes (G2) without him, trainer Chris Waller announced on behalf of her ownership group Feb. 5.

Bowman incurred a careless riding suspension for his ride on Tswalu on Australia Day at Warwick Farm, then was banned futher for interference attributed to him during the Karaka Million meeting at Ellerslie. Serving the penalties cumulatively will make him unavailable to ride races until Feb. 22. His appeal with the Racing NSW panel to reduce the original penalty was denied.

Winx has twice won the Apollo, in which she started her season in 2016 and 2017, and won the Chipping Norton both seasons as well.   

"Hugh Bowman is a very important part of Winx, and we feel that we can go straight into the Chipping Norton first up without the need to resume in the Apollo Stakes as we had originally planned," Waller said. "She races well fresh and we are ahead of schedule with her, so I will simply give her a third trial to ensure her fitness levels are high enough to compete at her best in this race."

Waller continued, "Should Hugh have been suspended in the middle or late in the preparation closer to her significant targets we would have opted to use a suitable replacement rider."

Australian betting operator TAB announced Feb. 5 via Twitter that they will refund all bets placed on the mare for the Apollo Stakes. 

Winx, who missed by two points to Arrogate  (134-132) for the title of 2017 Longines World's Best Racehorse for the second year in a row, was named the leading mare and top turf performer in the world by that ratings system for a second straight season Jan. 23. Having won all nine of her starts in 2017, she is on a 22-race win streak and has won 15 group 1 events, matching the record of the legendary Black Caviar. She capped her 6-year-old campaign with a course-record victory in the Oct. 28 Ladbrokes Cox Plate (G1) at Moonee Valley, her third victory in Australia's most important middle-distance race. She became the second horse to win the Cox Plate on three occasions, following Kingston Town (1980-82).