Hugh Bowman added an another unforgettable Moonee Valley moment to one of the most decorated resumes in Australian racing after winning the All-Star Mile on Mugatoo.
Responding to a precise piece of horsemanship that ranks with the best on a bulging highlight reel for the Sydney jockey, $2.15 favourite Mugatoo squeezed between runners to claim the race.
Bowman is famous for his association with Winx and mostly he was merely a passenger as the champion racemare made Moonee Valley her own with four WS Cox Plate triumphs between 2015-2018.
Suffice to say he had to work much harder for his slice of the $5 million on offer in the All-Star Mile as he duelled with Melbourne’s champion jockey Damien Oliver.
WHAT A RACE!
MUGATOO IS THE ALL-STAR MILE WINNER!! pic.twitter.com/yYaTY4VNj1
— 7HorseRacing 🐎 (@7horseracing) March 13, 2021
As Bowman sat in a pocket on Mugatoo when the field swept around the turn, Oliver made his move on Russian Camelot, a heavily backed $4.20 second favourite.
But without losing his mount’s momentum, Bowman’s patience was rewarded with an opening at the top of the straight and Mugatoo did the rest, beating Russian Camelot by a half length.
Behemoth ($15) who tried to lead all the way, held on to finish third.
It could easily rate as one Bowman’s best rides during a career that includes 97 Group One wins but, as always, the 40-year-old carried himself with the modesty that has been a hallmark of more than two decades in the saddle.
“Sometimes the best options are when you don’t have any,” Bowman said.
“Damien Oliver is someone I have looked up to from a very young age and I’ve had the privilege to ride competitively against him for a long time now,” Bowman said.
“I could sense him waiting for me to run into trouble and then all of a sudden I had a nice gap which appeared in front of me.”
Mugatoo is the latest in a long list of horses prominent syndicator Australian Bloodstock has imported from the UK and Europe.
It’s pouring money!
Australian Bloodstock won the 2014 Melbourne Cup with the German-trained Protectionist but Mugatoo’s NSW trainer Kris Lees has been instrumental in more recent successes.
“To get a quality horse like this come into your stable is every trainer’s dream. I’m very fortunate,” Lees said.
While the rain put paid to the favourite, the New Zealand-trained Probabeel ($3.50), Lees said it played a crucial in Mugatoo’s win.
“I kept looking at the sky all morning waiting for it to come. Certainly, it enhanced our chances,” he said.
Probabeel’s rider Damian Lane said the mare never handled the track.
The All-Star Mile, with most of the field decided by a public vote, is the richest race of the Australian autumn.
But it was run without the voting’s most popular horse, the brilliant Perth mare Arcadia Queen.
Arcadia Queen failed a veterinary test on race morning after battling lameness throughout the week.