Hugh Bowman feels for emerging jockey Raquel Clark but reckons she will still be cheering loudest for Dalasan when he runs as favourite in the Group One Caulfield Guineas.
Connections of the Leon Macdonald and Andrew Gluyas-trained colt opted to replace Clark with champion jockey Bowman for Saturday’s $2 million Guineas after his second to Alligator Blood in the Prelude a couple of weeks ago.
Bowman got to know Dalasan, who has had a tendency to lay in in his races, in an important track gallop on Tuesday morning at Caulfield.
Riding beside him on the work partner was Clark who also gave Bowman some insight into the horse she knows so well.
“It’s a decision that’s been made,” Bowman said.
“And you know what, I don’t think there will be anyone happier than her if the horse wins, to be honest.
“Her opportunity will come as it did for me when I was taken off horses at a younger age.
“It’s not about me taking her off.
“It’s a very important race for the horse and I guess I’m at the stage of my career where I’ve got the experience and the runs on the board. I understand how she’s feeling because it’s happened to me as well.
“It’s one race and it’s an important race and I think we’ll all be very happy if he can do it for us.”
Bowman already has a Caulfield Guineas and a Thousand Guineas to his name, but with the prized rides on the two favourites Dalasan and Flit in Saturday’s features, the champion jockey has a chance to complete a rare double.
Three jockeys in the past 20 years have been able to win both in the same year, with Kerrin McEvoy the most recent in 2013 on Long John in the Caulfield Guineas and Guelph in the Thousand Guineas for fillies.
That was when the races were run on separate days, with the Thousand Guineas on the Wednesday after the Caulfield Guineas program.
They moved to the same day in 2014.
Bowman won his first Caulfield Guineas in 2015 on the Chris Waller-trained Press Statement a year after winning the Thousand Guineas on Amicus.
He is confident $2.30 favourite Flit, who was a luckless ninth in the Thousand Guineas Prelude, is the superior filly in Saturday’s Classic.
“Obviously she should have won the Thousand Guineas Prelude and we’re expecting her to win on Saturday,” Bowman said.
Dalasan is the $3.80 Caulfield Guineas favourite but Bowman and the talented colt will have to overcome the widest draw in the capacity field.
Dalasan has blinkers on having worn them in Tuesday’s gallop, getting the thumbs up from Bowman who believes they can help him concentrate at the business end of the race.
“He gave me a good feel. He’s a very relaxed horse,” Bowman said.
“I think the blinkers might just help him focus up when he needs to.”