Hugh Bowman had walked fairways for two days before he was supposed to have a walk in the park. Golf was easy, winning a third Cox Plate on Winx was going to be easier.
Yet his face said anything but. Bowman could be mediating peace talks between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un and he still wouldn’t bat an eyelid. There’s cool cats, then there’s Hugh Bowman.
‘‘I’m lost for words,’’ Bowman said.
‘‘She’s made history. I was born the year Kingston Town won his first Cox Plate and to think she’s emulated the great … trying to compare one horse to another, they’re all different animals at the end of the day.
"But we are in the presence of greatness. She’ll be recognised as one of the greatest horses to grace the Australian turf.’’
Bowman, himself, perhaps one of the greatest jockeys of the Australian turf. It was Bowman’s 70th Group 1 in Australia, none had meant more as Winx emulated Kingston Town’s record of three Cox Plates.
He has exactly 50 more to go before surpassing the great George Moore. As Winx shimmied out onto the track with Bowman on top in front of a raucous Moonee Valley crowd, the jockey’s breeches told the tale. There were two circular figures on the side, one with a 15 inside and the other 16. It signalled Winx’s previous Cox Plate wins. Just above his boots he carries his daughters’ names, Bambi on one side and Paige on the other. Wife Christine completes Bowman’s all-female trifecta at home. Then there’s Winx.
‘‘As a racing lover, as an animal lover, I get great satisfaction watching any good horse, or exceptional horse and this thoroughbred has brought so much joy to my life, my family’s life and I know everybody is very proud of what we’ve achieved together,’’ he said.
The embroiderer was on standby ready to make a third with 17. But someone forgot to tell Blake Shinn, a saddle wizard for a day. He had already won four races on the program and was once managed in the same interests as Bowman, who relies on Bryan Haskins to pull the strings behind the scenes.
As the Shinn-piloted Humidor roared out of the pack and laid down a challenge to the great mare, Bowman needed all of his guile to urge Winx home to win by a long neck. He only tapped her once with the whip.
Hugh Bowman celebrates with Winx’s owners after her third Cox Plate triumph.