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Hugh Bowman won his first Golden Slipper in front of empty grandstands at Rosehill

Hugh Bowman has won his first Golden Slipper in front of empty grandstands but it did not diminish his joy at finally claiming what he considers to be Sydney’s signature race.

Bowman used Farnan’s natural gate speed to take up the running aboard the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained colt and did not relinquish his advantage.

While the star jockey has reached racing’s greatest heights through his partnership with champion Winx, he says winning Saturday’s Golden Slipper (1200m) is its own kind of special moment.

“I’m beside myself to be honest, I really am,” Bowman said.

“There is a lack of atmosphere, as we can all see, but I can assure you it takes nothing away from the win for me.

“Once you are out on the track it is business as usual.

“I just felt in control the whole race. He is a very special colt, a very natural two-year-old.”

Farnan was initially a lucky pick-up ride for Bowman when Tim Clark was unable to stick with the youngster in the Silver Slipper due to commitments in Melbourne.

He won that race and again teamed up with Farnan to claim the Todman Stakes, sealing the Slipper partnership.

The victory was Bowman’s 91st at Group One level and he said it made amends for his losing ride on the Waterhouse-trained Meurice in the 2007 Slipper.

“I was forever disappointed with myself on Meurice, who Gai trained in 2007 when I was doing the bulk of her riding, so to get the opportunity to repay her (is great),” Bowman said.

The victory gave Waterhouse a record seventh Slipper win, one more than her father, the late TJ Smith, but was Bott’s first success in the juvenile showpiece.

Bowman and Waterhouse worked closely for 18 months before he went to England in 2007 and he said she had been an important part of his career.

“She’s an amazing human being.What she has done for racing over the last four decades is amazing,” Bowman said.

“I rode for her for 18 months. When the chance came to go to England in 2007, she was instrumental in me going.

“I think that was the turning point in my career.”

 
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