Leading hoop to appeal big ban
TOP jockey Joe Bowditch will appeal a suspension that would see him miss the ride aboard star Adelaide sprinter Viddora in a $1 million feature on the Gold Coast next month.
Bowditch, who partnered the Lloyd Kennewell-trained mare to her breakthrough Group 1 win in the $1m Winterbottom Stakes at Ascot in Perth on December 2, was handed an eight-week penalty by Thoroughbred Racing SA stewards at last Saturday's Morphettville program for his ride on lightly raced colt Extreme Witness.
If the suspension stands, the 40-year-old jockey would be out of action from this Sunday until February 10. Bowditch is scheduled to ride Viddora in either the $1m Magic Millions Sprint (1200m) or $1m Magic Millions Fillies and Mares (1300m) on the Gold Coast on January 13. The four-year-old would almost certainly be favourite for whichever race connections choose to contest.
Bowditch is also scheduled to ride exciting filly La Pomme de Pin in the $2m Magic Millions Classic (1200m) on the same program. La Pomme de Pin is rated a $15 chance in early UBET markets for the juvenile feature following her dazzling win in the Magic Millions Clockwork Classic at Ballarat on November 25 with Bowditch in the saddle.
The hoop reportedly was stunned when handed the hefty penalty for the Extreme Witness ride.
Extreme Witness, who tightened from $12 to $9.50 with bookmakers, was never in contention in the Sidewood Estate Handicap (1050m) after missing the start badly. The three-year-old struggled to make any impression on the leaders before finishing at the tail of the eight-horse field, beaten just under 6½ lengths.
TRSA stewards charged Bowditch under rule AR135(b), deeming he "failed to take all reasonable and permissible measures throughout the race to ensure that the colt was given full opportunity to obtain (the) best possible place".
They made particular note of the area around the 400m mark of the race, saying the jockey did not ride with sufficient vigour when it was reasonable to expect him to do so.
Extreme Witness has raced three times, finishing sixth on debut at Morphettville just over a month ago - when stewards reported the colt also raced greenly - before winning in maiden company at Balaklava on November 22.
Extreme Witness covered the final 600m of last Saturday's race in 33.97 seconds, while the winner Kabini ran the same sectional in 33.78s.