Hugh Bowman has followed the mighty mare Winx and her trainer Chris Waller in receiving Australian racing’s highest accolade, after the champion jockey was named amongst the Australian Racing Hall of Fame’s list of inductees for 2019.
Bowman formed one of the greatest partnerships in the history of racing with Winx, the 2017 Australian Racing Hall of Fame inductee who registered 33 successive wins – including a record 25 at Group 1 level – before she was retired from the racetrack earlier this year.
“It’s an absolute privilege and more than a little humbling,” Bowman said.
“To be honest, off the back of the emotional rollercoaster with Winx, who has played such a significant part of my time as a professional jockey, it’s hard to put it into words.
“As well as with Winx, I’ve enjoyed a significant amount of international success and that doesn’t come without sacrifices, both by myself and my family.”
Debbie Kepitis, part-owner of the wonder mare, paid tribute to Winx’s regular rider, saying: “Hugh is always calm, measured and precise – he’s the ultimate professional.
“He brought out the best in Winx, and I believe Winx brought out the best in Hugh. It was the perfect storm!”
The ‘boy from Dunedoo’, who has amassed more than 2,000 winners during a glittering career in the saddle, is one of two jockeys entering the Racing Hall of Fame, with his fellow hoop Brent Thomson – a winner of four W.S. Cox Plates (2040m) in five years in the late-1970s – also amongst the 2019 list.
Four horses will officially be inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame at the ceremony, which takes place in Brisbane this Friday night (17 May). The quartet is headlined by So You Think, a ten-time Group 1 winner who enjoyed enormous success in both the northern and southern hemispheres. He won the Cox Plate on only his fifth start in 2009, and defended his crown 12 months later.
Vo Rogue raced exclusively in Australia, but the bay gelding became a household name in the late 1980s and early ‘90s thanks in part to his bold front-running style, which yielded 26 wins, 23 placings and more than $3 million in prizemoney.
“He had a big heart and a lot of natural ability,” said jockey Cyril Small, who rode Vo Rogue to 22 wins.
“His front-running tactics sparked people up. I think racing needed that at the time.”
Hall Mark was relatively small in stature but also had a huge heart, as he showed with victory in both the 1933 Victoria Derby and the Melbourne Cup, despite an injury-affected preparation. The courageous chestnut was retired to stud in 1936, boasting a career record of 18 wins and 25 placings.
Arguably the most well-travelled horse of his era, Balmerino commenced his globetrotting career in New Zealand and Australia before enjoying success on the world stage, including victories at Hollywood Park in America and in the Goodwood Select Stakes in England. He also finished runner-up in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe before returning to his native New Zealand in 1978 to begin a successful stud career.
Two trainers, Des McCormick and John Meagher, have made their way into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame this year.
McCormick was amongst Australia’s leading trainers of steeplechasers and hurdlers between the 1930s and ‘60s; whilst Meagher built an international reputation over five decades, winning 26 Group 1 races including the 1985 Melbourne Cup with What A Nuisance, owned by his fellow Hall of Famer Lloyd Williams.
The final three inductees in 2019 are Patrick Lalor, who served as Victoria’s Chairman of Stewards with distinction for 17 years; Sir Edward Williams, who served as chairman of the Queensland Turf Club in Brisbane for 11 years from 1980; and his brother Sir Sydney Williams, who for four decades was the chairman of the famous ‘Cairns Amateurs’, helping to build a local race meeting into one of the richest regional racing carnivals in Australia.
Induction into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame is the Australian racing industry’s highest accolade.
Established in 2001 by the Australian Racing Museum, the Racing Hall of Fame celebrates the achievements of the horses, jockeys, trainers and administrators who, through their contribution to thoroughbred racing, have become household names.
An elite few, such as Phar Lap, Bart Cummings, Scobie Breasley, Makybe Diva, Tommy Smith, Carbine, George Moore and Colin Hayes, have also been rewarded with the distinction of Legend.
The Australian Racing Hall of Fame is proudly displayed in the Australian Racing Museum’s permanent exhibition, the Champions Thoroughbred Racing Gallery, in the National Sports Museum at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.