Bowman joins 100 club with win in the Metropolitan

Hugh Bowman has credited his association with champion Winx for helping him achieve a feat managed by only three other jockeys in Australian history.

The gifted hoop has become just the fourth rider to boot home 100 Group 1 winners, bringing up the milestone aboard the David Payne-trained Montefilia in Saturday’s Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick.

He joins George Moore, Damien Oliver and Jim Cassidy as the only jockeys with a century of elite victories and acknowledges Winx’s record 25 top-level wins as a major factor.

“I must admit, I am very proud to have achieved it,” Bowman said.

“Obviously one horse was involved in a quarter of those 100 victories, which in itself is amazing.”

Bowman had been sitting on 99 Group 1s since taking out the Queensland Oaks aboard Duais at Eagle Farm in June and had to wait for the last of his three big race rides on Saturday.

His Flight Stakes mount Mallory didn’t run out the 1600m journey and finished unplaced, while Cascadian was a brave fourth under his big weight in the Epsom Handicap.

Montefilia ($6) had to fight for her win, sweeping to the front alongside hard-fit Tulloch Lodge gelding Entente ($5 fav) and outmuscling him in a photo finish to score by a short head.

It was Bowman’s second Group 1 win on the mare with the pair claiming the other on the corresponding program last spring.

“She is a mighty mare. I have had a wonderful association with her,” Bowman said.

“Twelve months ago we were unexpected winners of the Flight Stakes and she has gone on to achieve at the highest level since then and also run consistently.”

Montefilia’s win was also vindication for Payne, who had maintained his faith that she was a genuine stayer.

She had been beaten in three starts over similar distances as a three-year-old but the experienced trainer said none of them were run to suit the backmarker.

“Everybody said she couldn’t stay a mile-and-a-half, but I had no doubts. That’s why she was in the race today,” Payne said.

“It’s a very special moment for Hughie today, it’s just great to be a part of it.

“She is a special filly and we will go to the Caulfield Cup now. Why not? I’m pretty confident she gets the trip.”

Harpo Marx finished third in the Metropolitan, 1-1/4 lengths behind Entente with lightweight chance Zeyrek a solid fourth.

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