Bowman, Rawiller neck and neck for title
The Sydney jockeys’ premiership is set to go down to the wire with Nash Rawiller unable to properly capitalise on the absence of Hugh Bowman at Canterbury on Wednesday.
Rawiller came into the midweek meeting in irrepressible form having whittled Bowman’s title lead down to just 1-1/2 at Rosehill on Saturday courtesy of a four-winner haul.
He had a full book of rides at Canterbury, several fancied runners among them, but in a frustrating afternoon he had two narrow seconds and two thirds.
He managed just one win aboard Fine Bubbles and even that was drawn out after two stewards and Christian Reith, rider of runner-up Pleiades, made a trip to the judge’s box to view the photo finish.
All three were satisfied there was a margin in favour of Fine Bubbles after viewing the original print and Rawiller’s horse was awarded the race by a nose.
Bowman, sidelined on Wednesday because of suspension, will be back for the final two metropolitan meetings of the season, setting the scene for an intriguing tussle.
And perhaps one which should have more at stake than bragging rights.
Chris Waller will be crowned premier trainer after a record-breaking season and while he believes winners and prizemoney are sufficient reward for the highest-achieving trainers, Waller says jockeys should have a bigger incentive such as the opportunity to ride overseas.
“Not a financial incentive but they should be put on the world stage to represent NSW,” Waller said, pointing to international riding series such as Europe’s Shergar Cup.
Meanwhile, a debut placing behind one of the country’s most precocious two-year-olds proved a telling formline when Dream Forward took out the opening event at Canterbury.
The Darren Smith-trained filly had finished third to one-time Magic Millions and Golden Slipper favourite Assail in the Wyong Magic Millions at her first start in December and notched another city placing before she was spelled.
Punters backed her into $2.40 favouritism for the Aladdin’s Laundry Handicap (1200m) and Dream Forward got the job done with a three-quarter length victory.
Smith believes the filly can continue to step up through the grades and hopes she might measure up to black-type company this spring.