Everest prep puts Bowman in Olympic air

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There won't a high-profile jockey in Australia sweating as much as Hugh Bowman in the countdown to one of the world's richest horse races.

But it will not have anything to do with the mind-boggling purse on offer in the Everest, a $15 million race featuring 12 of the country's fastest thoroughbreds.

Bowman will be sweating because he has to as part of a regime that has taken him to the top of the jockey world rankings.

It's a routine of many unseen hours in the gym every week that Bowman won't let slide, even in the build-up to an event such as the Everest.

Bowman, now the latest member of racing's four-jockey 100-club with a century of Group One winners, caught up with Australia's main 100-metre man in sprinter Rohan Browning in an Everest promotion on Monday.

In a handicapped race where Bowman's mount, a stablemate of Everest runner Lost And Running, started at the 220-metre mark before coming up just short of chasing down Australia's fastest man along Randwick's famous straight.

Bowman will look to time his run slightly better in Saturday's Everest, with Lost And Running from the John O'Shea stable representing the TAB's slot.

After watching Browning's work up close, Bowman joked he could set his sights on joining him in Brisbane 2032 after riding in eventing and all Olympic equestrian disciplines as youngster.

But even now, Bowman's preparation isn't that far removed from an Olympian's commitment.

Bowman, famous to the wider Australian sporting public as the jockey who rode wonder mare Winx, spends close to 20 hours a week in the gym, with a heavy focus on weight maintenance given his 177cm frame.

The majority of his work is done under the watchful eye of Trent Langlands, who sets the programs for a number of racing's biggest names.

"With everything you do there is behind-the-scenes work," Bowman said.

"To me the biggest thing is just the weight loss. I am probably working on my weight two-to-three hours a day.

"That is every day, bar maybe one a week where I take it a bit easier.

"But that's what it takes to be at the top of the game."

That all fits around Bowman's time on track.

In the past week alone, the 41-year-old has ridden in no less than 38 races and barrier trials across six days.

But in a week such as the Everest, he'll ensure there is no change to his preparations.

"It's all about routine," Bowman said.

"That's what you have to bring to the big meets. You go through your routine and get reason, so everything becomes very normal.

"Even though the races are much more important."

Organisers were buoyed by their own good news on Monday, with the NSW government doubling the COVID-safe crowd capacity from 5000 to 10,000.

It still leaves the venue well shy of the record 40,912 that attended in 2019, but is some small step back to normality in Sydney's first major sporting event out of lockdown.

"You do feel it," Bowman said of a major raceday crowd.

"Not in the race, but when you're going out there."

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