Sean Bowen: ‘I could be at Ffos Las or Fakenham on Gold Cup day’

By Sports Desk March 03, 2024

Sean Bowen has indicated he could prioritise winning chances ahead of Festival rides during Cheltenham week.

The rider is trying to make up lost ground with Harry Cobden in the jump jockeys’ championship, having had his progress halted by a knee injury sustained on Boxing Day that kept him sidelined until early February.

Bowen claimed his first winner since returning to action at Kelso on Saturday, with Cobden 11 victories in front before racing on Sunday.

While the table topper will have a strong book of Cheltenham rides for Paul Nicholls, Bowen could look elsewhere as he tries to rally in the title race.

He said: “I might be there the first day for Not So Sleepy and if it came up really soft, he’d have half a chance, I’ll just pick and choose from there.

“I could be at Ffos Las or Fakenham on Gold Cup day, something like that. I need winners.”

Bowen is attached to Olly Murphy’s yard and the trainer is thrilled to have him back in action.

He said: “It’s tough for these lads, Harry and Sean are going at it but they are two young boys, the pressure they are under to be champion jockey.

“Sean has had a horrible injury and it’s taken him a while to get back rocking and rolling, he’s ridden through pain, he’s chewing pain killers and it’s been hard.

“We haven’t been flying ourselves, they haven’t been running bad, we’ve just had second after second. Hopefully he can get rolling again now.”

Cobden and Bowen are well clear of three-times champion Brian Hughes, who himself often bypassed days at the Festival in order to ride better chances at lower-profile fixtures.

Murphy hailed the talent of both title challengers and believes a proper battle for the crown can only benefit the sport.

He added: “The boys are two fantastic talents, Harry and Sean. It’s really healthy for National Hunt racing and may the best man win, they are two fantastic jockeys. I think it’s fantastic for Britain to have these two.

“They sit next to each other in the weighing room, it’s mentally tough and they are two fantastic lads. I don’t know Harry overly well but he conducts himself well and so does Sean.

“I’m delighted to have Sean on my side, he’s a humongous part of my team.”

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    Gilligan is hoping Buddy One’s exploits at the two biggest National Hunt meetings in England will do the trick when it comes to attracting new owners to his Galway stable.

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