LLOYD Williams, owner of the winner, Mourayan, rates Hugh Bowman as Australia’s premier jockey – and he’s probably right.
Bowman capped his best autumn carnival with a fifth Group 1 win when he guided Williams’ tough stayer Mourayan to win the $500,000 3200m marathon at Randwick.
Despite all his success this autumn, perhaps Bowman saved the best for last.
“To win a big race for Lloyd means a hell of a lot,” he said.
“I started riding for him about this time last year. I don’t ride a whole lot for him, obviously being based in Sydney, but I got down to ride this horse at my minimum weight of 53.5kg in a Melbourne Cup.
“He wasn’t quite up to the Melbourne Cup in the spring but Lloyd has obviously aimed him at this and he has carried the top weight to win, which is a huge effort.”
Williams, who wasn’t at Randwick yesterday, now has three Sydney Cups for his mantelpiece after Major Drive (1987) and Gallic (2007).
Mourayan’s win also gave the owner and his trainer, Robert Hickmott, a rare Melbourne Cup-Sydney Cup double in the same season after their win with Green Moon at Flemington last spring.
Williams’ son Nick said Mourayan’s form had worried the stable but on his father’s advice, Hickmott changed the gelding’s training routine and it sparked a return to top form.
“Dad got the team up there to change a few things with him over the last couple of weeks, including taking the blinkers off and really sharpening him up with his work,” Williams said.
“It’s worked a treat. It is a great credit to all of the team.
“Hugh was very confident before he went out on him – and what a ride! You can see why he’s the best in Australia, can’t you? He summed that race up from the first stride, he’s a great rider.
“He was the first of these European horses we bought this time around. We’ve got some great friends in him with us and it’s great to come up here and get the Sydney Cup.”
Mourayan ($12) outstayed his rivals to score by a widening three-quarters of a length from Tasmanian stayer Norsqui ($21) with Aliyana Tilde ($16) a half-head away third.
Kelinni was heavily backed in to $2.60 favouritism but seemed to have every chance before labouring to sixth.
“I wouldn’t say it was the back-up but the hard run the other day with the weight probably told,” Kelinni’s jockey Jim Cassidy said.
“I was coming off the bit 600m out, he couldn’t dash when I put the foot down.”
Bowman has had a remarkable Sydney autumn that began with a Group 1 win on Shoot Out in the Chipping Norton Stakes last month.
He then rode two major winners on Golden Slipper day with Fiveandahalfstar in The BMW and Norzita in the Vinery Stud Stakes.
Bowman won two Group 1 races again yesterday, his Sydney Cup success coming after his win on Reliable Man in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
Courtesy Daily Telegraph