Hugh Bowman at Racing Victoria appealing his month-long suspension. Picture: Nicole Garmston
Hugh Bowman at Racing Victoria appealing his month-long suspension. Picture: Nicole Garmston

Bowman ban reduced after appeal success

HUGH Bowman says he has been vindicated after successfully appealing three Melbourne Cup charges amid confusion over the whip rule.

Bowman had a one-month ban stemming from his Cup display on runner-up Marmelo reduced to 23 meetings. But he was slugged with a $10,000 fine by the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board for a whip rule breach.

Stewards originally imposed an eight-meeting ban for the offence.

He had a 21-meeting suspension for weighing in heavy reduced to 13 and a 12-meeting careless riding ban cut to 10.

Bowman weighed out at 55.4kg but returned to scale after the Cup at 56kg, breaching rules.

Bowman said he was pleased with the RAD Board decision.

"I think it's a lot fairer than what I was given on the day," he said. "I thought the panel considered each submission very fairly. Obviously, I'm going to miss the Japan Cup (on Cheval Grand), which I'm disappointed about.

"But, that said, the findings were fair and adequate.

"I would have preferred to not go through this process but my feelings on the findings handed out on the day is that they were in excess of what they should have been."

Originally outed until December 8, Bowman can resume on November 28.

He plans to ride in the Longines Jockeys' Challenge in Hong Kong on December 5.

Hugh Bowman is introduced before the Melbourne Cup.
Hugh Bowman is introduced before the Melbourne Cup.

Bowman said the application of the whip rule was problematic.

"Without looking into it too much, I think the rule itself is very difficult," he said.

"You've got different portions (before the last 100m and after).

"It's hard from a practicality sense. It's hard for the stewards to interpret it because of the way it (the rule) states. Which is disappointing but it is what it is."

Jockeys can strike horses five times before the 100m mark.

Bowman hit Marmelo 12 times and then another three times after the 100m.

Originally given a 41-meeting ban, Bowman received a six-meeting discount before taking the 35-meeting suspension to the appeals board.

Bowman told Judge John Bowman, Brian Forrest and Raymond Harbridge a string of simple events had led to him weighing one kilogram over Marmelo's allotted weight of 55kg.

The star hoop said his failure to weigh out in race silks, a sip of water, half a cup of tea and a mesh saddle pad could all have contributed.

"We're talking about 100 grams here," Bowman said, pointing to the fact four other jockeys weighed in after the Cup 900 grams over.

"The reality is that I've misjudged it by 100 grams.

"Someone of my experience and knowledge should know where I am with my weight.

"I take full responsibility."

Hugh Bowman (right) rides Marmelo to second place in the Melbourne Cup.
Hugh Bowman (right) rides Marmelo to second place in the Melbourne Cup.

Charged for striking Marmelo with the whip 12 times before the last 100m of the Cup, Bowman said he is not an excessive whip user.

"I've not thrown caution to the wind," he said. "I've given my horse the chance to respond to get to full speed and then I've used to minimum (three times in the last 100m)."

Bowman claimed he was unaware Marmelo's trainer Hughie Morrison had changed the horse's girth until he read a transcript of an interview between stewards and the Englishman.

He said was dehydrated after walking into the mounting yard for the National Anthem, having earlier having a "sip of water."

"I felt light-headed and had half a cup of tea," he said.

Bowman said Morrison used an absorbent mesh pad under the saddle.

Bowman believes the pad soaked up Marmelo's sweat, contributing to the gained 600 grams.

"It was dry when I took it out and it was wet when I brought it back in (after the race)," he said.