GROUP One winning hoop Hugh Bowman will ride Capital Commander in Friday's’s Allandale Park Stud Orange Cup.
One of the early favourites for the $50,000 feature race on Racing Orange’s biggest day, Capital Commander trainer Nick Olive said he twisted the arm of Bowman to coax the high profile jockey west for Friday's’s cup.
“We did a little bit,” Olive laughed, meeting Bowman during last month’s Albury Cup carnival.
“He was riding down in Albury and we bailed him up afterwards over a few drinks and asked him if he’d come up and he said yes.”
Bowman’s presence is a huge coup for Racing Orange and the Orange Cup.
The champion jockey rode Pete Snowden’s Ghibellines in the Group One Golden Slipper at Rosehill last Saturday and will jet back to Sydney following his hit and run mission on the Orange Cup to take part in the championships at Royal Randwick this Saturday.
“He’s stayed true to his word, which is good,” Olive added.
Capital Commander is part-owned in Gundagai by Don Tuckwell, while fellow part-owners, the Hambrook family, also have close ties there.
But on Friday, the only Capital Commander connection the Towac Park faithful will care about is its links to the colour city.
Olive has ties to Orange after spending two years studying horse management at the Orange Ag College, now CSU Orange, in the 1990s and with no Orange-based trainers accepting early yesterday morning, Olive’s brown mare is the city’s best chance.
Set to carry 56.5 kilograms over the 1600 metre distance, Capital Commander’s only setback has been the wide draw of barrier 12.
“The horse is going well. She’s definitely up to the 1600 metres,” he said of his six-year-old, a winner of nine races and more than $400,000 in prize money after recording her most recent win at Rosehill last November.
“She’s drawn a bit off the track which is unfortunate but she’s up to it. She’ll be forward. She’s a free running horse that likes to be on the pace.
“It’d be great to win.”
Up against the Olive-Bowman-Capital Commander partnership will be well performed chestnut gelding Prince of Capers.
Allocated top weight of 61.5kg in a strong field, Prince of Capers is in the hands of Cox Plate winning trainer Tony McEvoy and, having finished seventh in the Group Three Doncaster Prelude at Rosehill last Saturday, will have champion central west rider Greg Ryan on the mount.
The Allandale Park Stud Orange Cup will jump at 4.35pm on Friday at Towac Park.
Gates open at 12pm.