Bowman flags winter rest for city tracks

Hugh Bowman may be involved in a thrilling finish to the Sydney jockeys’ premiership but the leading rider says city racing should be scrapped at this time of the year.

Bowman believes some of the metropolitan racetracks struggle to cope with their workload over the wet winter months and need a rest.

“Warwick Farm was a joke last week, Canterbury is racing beautifully today but Rosehill has been difficult,” Bowman said.

“You’re trying to ride your horses but you’re trying to read the tracks as well.

“To be perfectly honest, I think it’d be better for everyone if we weren’t racing this time of year.

“Maybe give Grafton a stand-alone Saturday, maybe Kembla and Newcastle (one each) and have a month off the city tracks and give them a bit of a spell.”

Despite his misgivings, Bowman has plenty of motivation to keep the winter winners flowing.

A brace of victories aboard the Chris Waller-trained Japonisme and Burnt Bridges for Kris Lees at Canterbury on Wednesday kept him within reach of a third Sydney jockeys’ title, taking his season tally of wins to 86.

It wasn’t enough to overhaul Blake Shinn who retained second place on the premiership ladder with a Canterbury victory aboard Japonisme’s stablemate Sensualism.

Both jockeys trail James McDonald on 88-1/2 wins in a three-way battle which will intensify when McDonald returns from an English riding stint next week.

Shinn won his first Sydney title in 2007-08 and has made it clear he wants another.

But he says the fact his competition with McDonald and Bowman has people talking is equally important.

“I’m focused on it. It’s something I want to win but whether I can do it is another matter,” Shinn said.

“I think people are enjoying the battle and I want them to enjoy it, whether I win or lose.”

Bowman is also using the title as motivation during the final weeks of the racing season.

And he will be happy if he can jump aboard a few more horses like Burnt Bridges who finished strongly to claim Wednesday’s Handicap.

“I’m certainly thinking more about it than I have the rest of the year,” Bowman said.

“It’s nice to ride a winner and it’s nice to get a horse to hit the line like that horse just did.”

Meanwhile, Kerrin McEvoy was fined $800 for failing to ride fifth-placed Banksters Bonus out to the line in the final race at Canterbury.

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