Bowman Takes 2016 | 2017 NSW Metro Jockeys’ Premiership

When we see Hugh Bowman’s list atop the final standings in the Sydney Jockeys’ Premiership, it is first tempting to lament the fortune that found Brenton Avdulla sitting out a five-meeting ban for careless riding just as things were getting interesting.

Avdulla, as best we know, did not seem to express any bitterness and most jockeys accept that bans are a natural consequence of trying to squeeze a large thoroughbred through a small opening at the same moment the other jockeys attempt the same feat.

The young hoop has many years ahead of him, however, and guiding 100 – 1 Lasqueti Spirit to the win in the 2016 Group 1 Crown Oaks obviously leaves no doubts as to his ability, even if Avdulla’s exuberance following the win did wind up costing him a $1,000 fine.

The final tally finds Bowman ahead by 4 – ½ wins, but it is the prizemoney disparity that immediately grabs the attention. Bowman won over $3 million more than any other jockey and his 20.1 percent strike rate is by far tops amongst jockeys who made at least 100 metro starts.

Tommy Berry was second in terms of prizemoney and he jumped 44 more times than did Bowman.

Bowman also made a few starts beyond the big stage, including some on the provincial and country tracks, but if there were a premiership for participation, that award would have to go to Jeff Penza, who won 136 times last season and finished second, third, fourth or fifth over 100 times each. His total in those categories was 599.5 from 968 starts.

The close-but-no-cigar award would go to Grant Buckley, who with 997 starts, came within three of the 1,000-start milestone.

With the 2017 – 2018 Australian Thoroughbred Racing Season just underway, it will be interesting to observe whether Avdulla grows cautious toward the end of the season if he is again contending for the premiership, or if he continues to ride with the same mindset that had him so close to the prize last season.

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