HUGH Bowman can partner Johnny Murtagh’s horse Mutual Regard in the Melbourne Cup.
The Racing Appeals & Disciplinary Board today paved the way for the champion Sydney-based jockey to ride in the $6.2 million Melbourne Cup when it varied Bowman’s 20-meeting suspension on an improper riding charge.
Bowman appealed against the severity of the penalty imposed following his ride on Light Up Manhattan in last Saturday’s Caulfield Classic.
RAD Board chairman Judge Russell Lewis said several factors weighed in the favour of Bowman when the Board decided to cut four meetings off the imposed penalty.
Judge Lewis noted that the Board accepted that general deterrence is an over riding principal in the paramount consideration of safety of riders.
But, Judge Lewis said that Bowman’s improper riding was not in the “most serious category” of the charge.
He also said that Bowman’s good record over 18 years as a jockey was another factor as was the fact that he had not previously been charged with improper riding and his plea of guilty, albeit a late one.
Bowman described as “fair” the RAD Board hearing and said he was “satisfied” with the outcome.
He said Murtagh had been good enough to save the ride for him on Mutual Regard pending the decision of his appeal.
“The Melbourne Cup is the biggest race in the Australian racing calendar and Derby Day is the biggest day,” Bowman said.
“All in all I’m satisfied with the Board’s decision. I’ll miss some good rides, but I have excellent support from owners.
“We have to understand that safety is paramount.”
Des O'Keeffe, assisting Bowman, asked the RAD Board to reduce Bowman's penalty by a quarter - five days - so he could resume riding on Victoria Derby day.
The RAD Board heard that the meetings, which include Cox Plate, Derby and Melbourne Cup days, Bowman would miss carry more than $7 million in prizemoney.
Bowman described the meetings as "the three biggest days of the Australian racing calendar.
"For me this is the most significant time of the year," Bowman said.
Judge Lewis replied: " it's a pity you didn't think about that when you rode improperly at Caufield."Bowman told the RAD Board that it was not until Sunday morning when he read the VCAT finding into the recent Chad Schofield review case that he realised that he was guilty as stewards charged.
He said he rang the RV offices first thing Monday morning to inform stewards that he would not challenge the finding, but appeal solely against the severity.
Dayle Brown, the RV Integrity General Manager, said stewards got the Bowman penalty in terms of duration "pretty right"
Brown said the meetings that Bowman would miss are significant, but noted that in the prevailing circumstances safety of riders must be paramount.
"Safety is the over riding consideration," Brown said.
"General deterrence must be the key."
Bowman will miss the ride on Terravista in the Manikato, Criterion in the Cox Plate and was on Preferment for Chris Waller in the Derby.
Des O'Keefe as his brief .......seems Des is getting a name for hisself representing jockeys in appeals.....I've no quibble with the decision ...half expected a reduction not like Craig Williams who wasn't afforded the same consideration and missed riding the Cup winner......only question for Judge Lewis is what in his opinion constitutes "the most serious category of improper riding "...possibly knocking one down is the answer. Giddy Up