BOW River survived a spirited fight back from Jetgirl to take the spoils in Sunday’s $40,000 Hugh Bowman Cup (1,100 metres) at Tyers Park.
The Gayna Williams-trained gelding won the race for maidens by a length over Dean Mirfin’s home city hope Jetgirl, who led home another fast Bathurst finisher, Peter Stanley’s Destiny Is Written.
Debutant Jetgirl ($3 favourite) was the one punters had their eye on in the markets thanks to an encouraging trial win last month.
Jetgirl looked certain to reward the punters’ faith when leading the field into the home straight along the rail.
Bow River ($4.20) and La Petite Belle ($5.50) refused to go away on Jetgirl’s outside.
La Petite Belle faded out of the hunt over the final 100m while Bow River, under the guidance of Grant Buckley, began to edge ahead of the Mirfin challenger.
Jetgirl looked ready to hit back in the closing strides before Bow River pulled clear to win his first race in eight starts.
Destiny Is Written ($9.50) found another gear to pinch third place by a head from La Petite Belle.
It’s been a long road back to the world of racing for Bow River who had undergone windpipe surgery and stayed off the track since April last year.
The Ready’s Image x Before Too Long gelding was previously trained by Scone’s Rodney Northam before arriving in the Williams stable for this preparation.
“He had a wind, or throat, operation. Before, he was probably getting about 60 per cent of his air through. Now we’re hoping it’s closer to 95 to 100 per cent,” former Bathurst trainer Williams said.
“t’s a privilege to win a race here in Hugh’s name. He was an apprentice in Bathurst with Leanne Aspros but we knew him for many years when he was starting. The rest is history, now he’s the world’s best jockey. It’s amazing.”
Williams was full of praise for Mirfin’s filly who pushed her runner throughout the closing stages.
“It was a good finish today and I think Dean’s got a really nice filly in the making. She’s done a good job in her first start today. She was the one we thought would be hard to beat,” she said.
“I would have definitely been disappointed if Bow River had not figured in the finish today.”
Prior to Sunday’s victory Bow River’s best result had been three third placings.
Orange’s Michael Plummer was fifth with Sovereign Default.