Hugh’s Houdini act before Winx showstopper
HUGH Bowman will go into lockdown two days out from Saturday's Cox Plate, intent on ensuring he is in peak mental condition to guide Winx into uncharted waters.
After Tuesday's run-through at the Breakfast with the Best and Thursday's final track gallop, the jockey will begin the solitary final preparations for Winx's date with destiny at The Valley.
"Obviously, there is a lot of media interest in Winx in the lead-up and we're now getting to the grand final," Bowman said. "It's all something we're (Winx's connections) quite familiar with, having been through it a few times now.
"But what I try and do is as much as I can for all the media, all the commitments.
"Obviously, work Winx here at the Breakfast with the Best (Tuesday) and again Thursday morning, which is very structured. From Thursday, Friday, I just keep to myself, really.
"Just try and get away from it all and imagine how the race might be run, scenarios that might eventuate."
As invincible as Winx appears as she chases a 29th successive victory, 22nd Group 1 and fourth Cox Plate, Bowman will not be weighed down by history or tactics.
"I don't like to have too much of a plan on Winx or any other horse, for that matter," he said. "Just basically get myself ready for her and other rides on the day."
Bowman, speaking at the launch of Winx, The Authorised Biography, revealed he had never been badgered by the public on how to ride the mare.
But he admitted watching replays of her narrow Warwick Stakes win in 2017 was more nerve-racking than the race itself.
"If I take everyone back to the Warwick Stakes, when she missed the start, it was obvious by then she was well into her winning streak and I was riding her quite arrogantly all of the time," Bowman said.
"And I thought to myself, 'if I could just sit off the back of them one day, I'll think you'll see her at her best, if just come out' - my wish was granted that day.
"But I felt it and knew it. I didn't need that again.
"That was a great feeling, the way she went that day. I actually didn't feel nervous in the race, if I'm honest."