Bowman available Monday after family dash from Flemington


”Upon being informed, Bowman sought and was granted permission by RV stewards to return home immediately to Sydney to be with his wife.

”Bowman has advised stewards that Christine is in better health today.”

The jockey missed booked rides at Canberra on Sunday, but RV said he would be available to ride from Monday, March 11.

Bowman is due to ride the favourite, Alizee, in the All-Star Mile at Flemington next Saturday.

The Godolphin-owned four-year-old mare looks to have the 1600-metre race – the world’s richest contest over that distance – at her mercy following her sparkling run of late summer-early autumn form.

She pleased Bowman when he rode her in an exhibition gallop at Flemington earlier on Saturday afternoon.

”It was a really nice peice of work, she was a little wound up when I got on her, but not as much as she was at Caulfield … she did everything she was meant to do,” Bowman said on Saturday.

“She feels amazing. She’s got an amazing stride, she’s very clean winded, and boy, as busy as she is in the preliminaries, once I get on the track she really relaxes. She’s a genuine group 1 horse.”

Her biggest rival may turn out to be Flemington specialist Grunt, trained by Mick Price who had a winner on Saturday’s card when the ex-Darren Weir-trained Anjana took out the listed Incognatus Stakes.

Price said Grunt, who won the Australian Guineas and the Makybe Diva Stakes over the All-Star’s 1600-metre course and distance in 2018, would be cherry ripe for his big test next weekend.

“He’s perfect, worked super this morning. I am very happy with him, he’s on the up and up all the time that horse. He will show up here and give a very good account of himself,” Price said.

Last time out at his first run from a spell, Grunt was beaten into sixth place behind Violate in a 1400-metre handicap at Flemington. Some saw it as a less than enthralling return to action, but Price, who will once again use the horse’s regular partner Damien Oliver in the big race, doesn’t agree.

”He was beaten 2.9 lengths, perhaps if he had run third (the performance might have been regarded more highly).

”Everyone says he’s just about to win.  Ollie said in his experience all those horses that are lighter weighted in a 1400-metre handicap against a horse like him, who is not a 1400-metre horse, it makes it harder for them.

”They just sprinted away from him. He had no excuses then, but you will see him turn up at the mile and see him run really well.”

The biggest danger?

“Alizee. She’s got to be the one to beat, a Flemington-trained horse in sparkling weight-for-age form, she would be the clear pick,” Price said.

Michael Lynch is The Age’s chief soccer reporter and also reports on motor sport and horseracing

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