Hugh Bowman keeps calm and wins Sydney jockeys title

Sydney’s premier jockey Hugh Bowman served as a stress-relief consultant before securing the jockey title by producing Sebring Sun at the right time to break his maiden at Canterbury on Wednesday.

The Sebring two-year-old had been talked about as a Golden Slipper contender earlier in the season and trainer Gary Portelli was very keen for him to open his winning account as a two-year-old before the end of the season.

“He beat an open-class horse in a gallop on Saturday, so I thought he would just win,” Portelli said. “When Hughie came out to the mounting yard I was as nervous as I would be before a group race.

“He just told me to calm down – everything would be all right. That’s why he is the champion jockey because he is calm and gets the job done.”

Bowman finished the season with 96 wins after riding another winning double also scoring on Raido to make it 11 wins in the final two weeks of the season. He also was the leading group 1 jockey in Australia with nine victories for the season.

Portelli has higher expectations for Sebring Sun, including perhaps a Golden Rose, but he will keep him to restricted company for now.

“He is still learning and I want to take him slowly,” Portelli said. “He has always had nice potential but hasn’t quite lived up to it because his head has been getting in the way.

“He is still a colt and if he can develop and there might be a stud somewhere for him  if can win a couple of races.”

James McDonald’s defence of his title finished after the first race on the Canterbury when he was stood down by the club doctor because of the effects of flu.

He finished the season with 91-1/2 wins, a mark Blake Shinn joined him on after steering I’ll Take The Jag to a debut win. That win also secured the NSW Jockeys title for Shinn.

Although he did not have a winner at the final meeting of the season Chris Waller won his fifth consecutive metropolitan trainers’ premiership with 143-1/2 ½ wins, while Winona Costin was the champion apprentice recording 41 wins.

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