Hugh Bowman was warned of the dire consequences of dropping his hands on a horse after $1.30 Missile Stakes hotpot Alizee scrambled to victory, staking an early claim for The Everest in the process.
Racing NSW stewards briefly questioned Bowman over his ride on Godolphin's superstar mare, which surged clear in the Rosehill straight before Winx's jockey throttled her down inside the last 50 metres.
Invincible Gem, which won the race in 2017, took significant ground off the favourite in the closing stages to reduce the margin to a short neck as Alizee's backers across the country shuddered.
She was very tired and when I stopped pushing her she idled down quickly.
Chief steward Marc Van Gestel waited only a few minutes after the race to call Bowman in to front the panel, asking: "Did you stop riding a couple of strides too soon?"
Said Bowman: "She was very tired and when I stopped pushing her she idled down quickly."
Replays showed Bowman urging the mare again in the final couple of strides before the line when he heard Brenton Avdulla looming on Invincible Gem.
"We don't want to see you go too steady on them," Van Gestel said. "It's a high price to pay if you get beat."
It was a bizarre postscript to an unremarkable build-up to the group 2 race, which boasted just five runners, including 79-rater Dissolute.
But Godolphin's quandary before The Everest – the global racing giant was granted Damion Flower's forfeited slot – won't be solved any time soon after Alizee charged clear at the top of the straight on a windy day before gripping on.
Godolphin's head trainer James Cummings hinted he would have liked his three time group 1-winning mare to perhaps have hit the front a little later as he weighs up the blue army's Everest pecking order, which includes Osborne Bulls and Trekking.
"I was nervous for the horse because this is as good as I've had a horse prepared for a good race ever, and you worry about what might go wrong," Cummings said. "She's on the board fresh up, and the remainder of the campaign is there to see, and hopefully Hugh has had a similarly good feeling.
"She's an outstanding horse and we're lucky enough to have her in the barn. It's wonderful to see her get up and win a weight-for-age group 2 first-up. She seemed to do it the hard way. He took off very early on her, and if there was a way she was going to get beat it was going to be an impatient jockey.
"It was good to see her hold on, and there was a good margin back to third, so I suggest she would have rated very well even though the second horse came at her strongly. I'm just really pleased for her she's back on the board and has come back in such good form."
Alizee was crunched in betting markets aroRead More – Source