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The best horse won The Everest on Saturday, but did we see a double standard in the race, or perhaps just a correction in the operating mode of the NSW stewards?

They are fair questions when you consider Hugh Bowman was harangued, his name besmirched, his riding reputation questioned, his judgment ridiculed and he himself humiliated by the subsequent actions of the Stewards after his ride on FARNAN (Not A Single Doubt-Tallow) in the 1200m Gr 2 Run To Rose back in September.

Bowman, if you can recall, allowed his mount to run that day from barrier rise, and he led that race at a cracking pace, folding over the final 250m to miss a place.

He went out in 45:25sec for the first 800m on a Good 4 track under 58.5kg. That, from a standing start is very fast.

By contrast, in The Everest, King’s mount EDUARDO (Host-Blushing) ran super hard also clocking 44:23sec for the first 800m from a standing start on a Good 4 and under 58.5kg.

Yet, while all the above centred around Bowman‘s ride, and he was subsequently suspended, King was only questioned re her tactics.

Read the respective Stewards Reports verbatim –

Eduardo – When questioned regarding the tactics adopted on the gelding, rider R. King stated that she was under no specific instructions as to where to settle in the race, but had expected to take up a forward position. She added that she was advised also to ensure that Eduardo set a comfortable rhythm throughout the event. She added that after commencing well she rode her mount in a neutral manner throughout the early stages, but when Nature Strip did not improve to her inside Eduardo commenced to race keenly and leaving the 1000m she endeavoured to restrain the gelding as she was aware it was setting a fast early pace. She added that throughout the middle stages, Eduardo did not respond to her efforts to reduce the pace and as a consequence set too fast a tempo and was left without a finishing effort. A post-race veterinary examination did not reveal any abnormalities.

Farnan – An inquiry was opened into the tactics adopted on the colt and in particular the fast pace set throughout the early stages of the event. Rider H. Bowman stated he was issued with no specific instructions however the stable had expected the colt to either lead or race outside the other on pace runner Rothfire. Rider H. Bowman stated that in the early stages when he was positioned outside Rothfire he observed its rider J. Byrne not showing a positive intention to hold the lead and he therefore elected to ride Farnan forward to lead. He stated that after riding his mount in this manner Farnan commenced to race keenly and took charge which resulted in the colt setting very fast early sectionals (1000m to the 800m 10.34, 800m to 600m 10.88). Co-trainer Mr A Bott confirmed the nature of the instructions and advised there was no requirement for the colt to hold the lead. The inquiry was adjourned to a date to be fixed so Stewards could consider the evidence provided. A post-race veterinary examination revealed the colt to be slow to recover.

Speedsters sometimes just take off, and after 50 years in this game watching races, gambling on races, doing the form professionally on races, I’m of the opinion neither jockey should have been suspended.

Questioned, absolutely.

But, and here’s the thing I don’t get. Clearly the Stewards thought Bowman gave his mount little chance of winning and so they reacted.

However, that same theory wasn’t applied to King. Yet both horses ran in exactly the same manner, Eduardo going even faster than Farnan, and both weakened over the last 250m of their respective races.

So, I throw it over to the rank and file.

Was Bowman unfairly treated or not?

Was King let-off lightly?

Was there inconsistency with how the Stewards conducted themselves?

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