AFTER missing out on riding in a number of Melbourne’s big feature races this spring, yesterday former Bathurst apprentice jockey Hugh Bowman was hoping to make up for it in the biggest of them all – the $6.2 million Melbourne Cup.
It did not eventuate.
Instead Bowman had to settle for 18th place with $22.50 chance Junoob, finishing 28.55 lengths off the pace.
The honours belonged to Protectionist ($8.20), who completed an international clean sweep of Australia’s richest spring races.
In beating a brave Red Cadeaux ($21) and Who Shot Thebarman ($21), Protectionist delivered the first Melbourne Cup win for Germany.
He becomes the fifth northern hemisphere-trained horse to win the race since Vintage Crop scored in 1993.
Bowman got as close to the front as fourth on the bend as he ran a majority of the 154th Melbourne Cup along the rails, but he was swamped by his rivals in the home straight.
The 18th placing in the Cup added to results ranging from fair to forgettable for Bowman in his other three races.
His best result came with a fourth in the Schweppes #FlemingtonFling (1,000m) with Reigning Meteor ($31) finishing 2.5 lengths off the winner Risen From Doubt ($8).
Bowman could only manage 11th in the day’s opening Emirates Airline Plate (1,100m) with Charlie’s Dream ($51), while another long shot Tanby ($71) was never in the hunt for him in the James Boag’s Premium Stakes (1,800m), finishing a distant last in the 16-strong field.
Though he has been a prolific Group 1 winner, yesterday continued a rough run of luck for Bowman.
The man who served his apprenticeship in Bathurst under Bill and Leanne Aspros had his 2014 Caulfield Cup hope My Ambivalent scratched then missed the Cox Plate and Victoria Derby due to suspension.
He returned to the track yesterday after trainer Chris Waller offered him a ride on Junoob, the Group One Metropolitan (2,400m) winner.
While Bowman was excited to have his fourth Cup ride, ahead of the 3,200 metre feature he was realistic about his chances.
“It’s always a great race to be involved in,” he said in the lead-up.
“If he could run in the placings I’d be over the moon. He’s going into the race with good consistent form.”
But while the talented hoop rated Junoob a good top-five prospect, he was outclassed in the run for home.
Going from barrier eight, Bowman made a good start with the seven-year-old and was in seventh early before finding his way to the rail and settling in sixth.
It was My Ambivalent ($31) who set the early pace, and while momentarily zipping three lengths clear, the field soon bunched again.
Junoob looked to be travelling well on Royal Diamond’s ($45) back and into the bend snuck up into fourth and tacked onto the back of My Ambivalent.
But then came the rest of the field, meaning Bowman once again was left empty-handed in the Flemington classic.
Yesterday’s ride was his fourth attempt at Melbourne Cup success.
It was back in 2009 that Bowman got his first shot in the biggest race on the Australian calendar when riding Seville for Bart Cummings. He placed 21st.
The following year his mount Mourayan was scratched on the morning of the race, but on the same Robert Hickmott-trained galloper 12 months later he managed a seventh placing.
In 2013 Hickmott secured his services once more, Bowman guiding Seville to 12th.