(1980 - ) Inducted 2019
Image source: Racing Photos
Hugh Bowman had established himself as a champion jockey, years before becoming indissolubly linked in the public mind with one exceptional racehorse. Hugh Bowman and Winx became one of the greatest partnerships in Australian racing.
Named after his great uncle who was killed on active service in the Second World War, James Hugh Bowman was born in 1980 and grew up on the family farm at Dunedoo, east of Dubbo, New South Wales. As a small boy he rode in country shows and was noted for his natural horsemanship. After secondary schooling in Sydney, he began his racing apprenticeship with Bill and Leanne Aspros in Bathurst, winning the Wellington Picnic Cup in 1996. By season 1999/2000 he was the NSW premier country apprentice.
Hugh Bowman moved to Sydney in 2002, soon making his way into the top rank of riders. His first Group 1 win was on Defier in the 2004 Doomben Cup. In 2007 he rode in England, successfully captaining ‘The Rest of the World’ team in the unique series of races at Ascot constituting the Shergar Cup. He won his first Sydney Jockeys’ Premiership in 2008/09 and took the VRC Oaks on Samantha Miss.
Bowman rode frequently for Chris Waller, trainer of Winx, and first rode the mare in September 2014 to win the Group 2 Furious Stakes at Randwick, her third win from three starts. In 2015 the pair reunited to win the Queensland Oaks (her sixth win from 12 starts). Bowman again rode Winx in her eighth win, the 2015 Epsom Handicap and remained her jockey for the rest of her career.
Winx retired in April 2019 with 37 career wins, the last 33 in succession. Hugh Bowman rode her for 32 of those wins. With the increasing weight of public expectation, he rode her in all her 25 Group 1 wins. No horse before had ever won four Cox Plates. Bowman rode her in each of these, in three Queen Elizabeth Stakes, and the Doncaster Mile.
Numerically Winx’s victories represent a small proportion of Hugh Bowman’s career achievements. He was again premier Sydney jockey in seasons 2014/15 and 2016/17, with additional Group wins interstate and overseas. In 2017 he won the World’s Best Jockey Award for success in a nominated series of top international races for the year. Apart from Winx, Bowman’s wins that year included Werther in the Hong Kong Gold Cup and Cheval Grand in the Japan Cup.
“Hugh is always calm measured and precise; the ultimate professional, confident and efficient athlete.
He brings out the best in Winx and I believe Winx brings out the best in Hugh. The perfect storm!” Debbie Kepitis
Induction into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame is the industry's highest accolade.
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