HUGH Bowman has been given a deadline of Wednesday night to decide if he wants to ride cult horse Tiberian in the Melbourne Cup.
Bowman has the option of partnering Werribee-based internationals Tiberian or Marmelo in the Cup - and pressure is building for him to make his choice.
With Australian Bloodstock snaring Ryan Moore for Red Cardinal, Bowman wants to wait until riding Marmelo in Saturday week's Caulfield Cup before giving connections an answer.
But Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock's Darren Dance has told Bowman Tiberian's trainer Alain Couteil wants to secure a rider as soon as possible.
"What we've agreed with the trainer is that we need to lock our rider in by Wednesday night,” Dance said.
"It's a difficult one because we're only running in the Melbourne Cup, so a lot of these riders are committed to the Caulfield Cup and if they've already taken a Melbourne Cup ride, well maybe they won't get a Caulfield Cup ride.
"It's a tough decision on them but we have to take a hard line there and say, 'Well, we really want to lock our rider in before we get too far down the list'.
"This time last year we had Joao Moreira locked in (for Heartbreak City). We want to get our rider down here to ride the horse three or four times particularly as we start to step the work up.”
Tiberian is a TAB $21 chance in the Cup.
Bowman was impressed with Tiberian's work, saying he was similar in feel to Red Cardinal and Marmelo and was determined not be rushed into a decision.
"I wanted to get a feel of all three horses before I made a decision and the reality is they were all going to feel pretty nice and they all have,” Bowman said.
"They're all very similar types of horses, similar body shapes and they've got similar formlines, particularly Marmelo and Red Cardinal.
"Obviously Ryan Moore is riding Red Cardinal, so that option is off the table now.
"I'll be guided by other people's opinion on the form. They're all good horses.
"It's the little one percenters that can be the difference of winning and losing.
"I'm not a magician. I can't sit on them and say, 'You've got the Cup winner here' - not from one feel. It's a process of getting an understanding.”
Asked when he would make his call, Bowman joked: "I'll wait for the (Melbourne Cup) barrier draw if I can.
"But I want to be fair to everyone and I'm riding Marmelo in the Caulfield Cup, so I'd be very reluctant to make any commitments before that because I wouldn't see that as being fair to those connections of that horse. So I certainly won't be making a decision before then.”
Bowman said he would study Tiberian's two wins at Deauville in August before contacting connections.
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