Hugh Bowman suspended for six weeks for careless riding after Rosehill incident
A remorseful Hugh Bowman says he is looking forward to riding against Andrew Adkins again after he was suspended for six weeks for his role in a horror fall which left his rival hospitalised and a promising horse euthanised.
Racing NSW stewards made the “very, very difficult” decision to rub Winx’s jockey out of the start of the Sydney spring carnival after he pleaded not guilty to a careless riding charge at a rescheduled hearing on Thursday.
Adkins agreed for the inquiry to proceed without his evidence as Bowman argued he was entitled to angle for a run, which resulted in him making heavy contact with Hot ‘N’ Hazy. Danny Williams’ horse subsequently crashed to the turf and was euthanised on track.
Bowman said he had spoken to Adkins and told him how “sorry I was for the accident”, which has left the luckless jockey nursing a collapsed lung, seven broken ribs, a broken collarbone and two fractured bones in a leg.
He was admitted to Westmead Hospital’s high dependency unit earlier this week after surgery.
Acting chief steward Wade Birch said there was no template for taking into account Bowman’s charge and the consequences of the fall, but said a reasonable ban for such an offence would be three months.
Bowman’s suspension was reduced to six weeks because of his good riding record – which includes just one careless riding suspension in the last year, on The Everest day in 2019 – contributing factors to the fall and feature race meetings he will miss.
The jockey’s suspension starts with immediate effect and he will return to the saddle on September 11 before the Run To The Rose meeting.
On handing down his penalty, Birch said it had been a “privilege” to watch Bowman ply his trade every Wednesday and Saturday, but the three-person stewards panel could not ignore the actions causing the fall.
They claimed the ride was very “un-Hugh Bowman like” and questioned why he had ridden his horse so aggressively onto the heels of the leader Mr Colorful before trying for the narrow passage.
Bowman said the high-profile nature of the incident had taken “an effect on me and my family”. The fall occurred in Bowman’s first ride back from a five-week break, which included a minor hernia operation.
Jockeys are required to make split [second] decisions … I have always prided myself on riding competitively, but also within the rules.
In a statement after the stewards inquiry, Bowman said: “Firstly I’d like to wish Andrew Adkins a full and speedy recovery. I spoke to Andrew on the phone to convey how sorry I was for the accident. He is in good spirits, which was very pleasing and reassuring to hear.
“To Danny Williams and the connections of Hot ‘N’ Hazy, I would like to share my condolences to them. Having been involved with horses all my life I know how tragic it is with the loss of a horse and for all concerned.
“Jockeys are required to make split [second] decisions under enormous pressure and as a jockey with over 20 years of riding experience I have always prided myself on riding competitively, but also within the rules.
“Those who know me well know that it is never my intention to risk injury to fellow jockeys and/or horses when I ride and my record over many seasons attests to that. I look forward to riding against [Adkins] upon his return.”
Bowman provided stewards with 19 still photos as part of an explanation for his riding. He said the fall was “out of my control” after he had decided to take a run he thought he was entitled to.
He claimed Glyn Schofield’s horse Mr Colorful had shifted out, closing the gap he was trying to push his horse through. But, when quizzed by stewards, Schofield said his move was “inconsequential” to Adkins’ fall.
Bowman pointed to various camera angles, including one behind the field, which he claimed proved there was sufficient space for the run. He gave evidence that he knew he was going to require “minimal contact” with Adkins’ mount Hot ‘N’ Hazy to shoulder through the gap.
Bowman labelled Hot ‘N’ Hazy as “tiring”, while his horse Smart Image, who went on to win the race, was “travelling”.
“I’m remorseful for the incident that happened,” Bowman told the stewards panel. “[But] this was by no means a rushed or spur of the moment decision. Unfortunately due to other circumstances it resulted in a dreadful accident.”
Another horse who was part of the chain reaction, Edward Cummings’ filly Sunborn, has been ruled out for up to six months to undergo surgery on a broken bone in her near fore leg.
Bowman was advised of his rights to appeal.