By Tony Megahey
According to northern racing institution Brett Bellamy, Hugh Bowman offers infinitely more than another likely 'bullet proof' Highway ride on unbeaten Northern Knight in Saturday’s TAB, $60,000 (1200m) episode at Rosehill Gardens.
The Coffs Harbour mentor makes a rare city trip off Northern Knight’s winning treble at Lismore, Port Macquarie and Coffs and the champion jockey is an early booking at 57kg.
Like the multitudes of country trainers, Bellamy is striving to develop a contender for the $200,000 Anniversary Highway during the Royal Randwick Sydney Spring Carnival. And Northern Knight continues to lift his stable’s excitement levels.
Bowman is in superlative form off Saturday’s headquarters treble, the Winx phenomena, and successive Highway wins on My Tagoson and maintains his high strike rate in the popular series.
Restricted class Highway hopefuls are benefiting from the same expertise as Bowman invariably displays on Group performers.
And no more appreciative than Bellamy, who never overrates gallopers. Hence, Northern Knight is only his second Highway starter.
“It’s difficult to line up the form through so many different country tracks, but Hugh is known for his judgment on how far they might progress, or their limitations,” Bellamy offered. “Hugh sums them up pretty quick, lets you know exactly where you’re at. The best guide and the ride, like those Highways on My Tagoson for the Northams.
“So we’ll know a lot more on Saturday. Whether we’ll be back here for bigger races or we’ve just got a nice progressive country horse that might win us another Coffs Cup, as he’ll get 1600m eventually.
“Anyway he’s impressed his regular rider Raymond Spokes so we’re happy coming down for the higher grade. This gelding is not one dimensional. He’s been adaptable enough to lead and win, got the job done off the pace, and he handles all surfaces. We wouldn’t mind a soft track either, as I’ve trained other Bon Hoffa’s and they can be swimmers.”
Bellamy is hoping for better luck with the Bowman influence as his only previous Highway runner Super Tonic was unplaced in the Rosehill Gardens Highway a month ago won by the heavily-backed Cavanough’s Another Sin.
Sharing favouritism could be Melanie O’Gorman’s Suncraze and Matthew Dale’s Mossman Gorge. Suncraze, an impressive Randwick Highway winner in July, elevates to 59kg and trialled brilliantly at Tamworth recently for a return. Mossman Gorge with 55.5kg goes up two kilos from a recent all the way Rosehill 1100m Highway success. Saturday’s track rating is a good four.