Hugh Bowman hoes Mugatoo can rise to the same heights as Samantha Miss after the champion jockey continued his long association with trainer Kris Lees by riding All Star Mile winner Mugatoo in trackwork at Newcastle on Tuesday.
Less than a fortnight out from the Doncaster Mile (1600 metres), Bowman made the "effort" to travel up from Sydney and was "pleased" with the six-year-old gelding as they reset for the $3million feature at Randwick on April 10.
Bowman steered Mugatoo in between midweek races at the Broadmeadow venue, having struck success for the second time in as many starts together when saluting in the $5million event at Moonee Valley on March 13.
It comes more than a decade after Bowman was aboard the Lees-trained mare Samantha Miss for three group 1 victories - Champagne Stakes, Flight Stakes and Crown Oaks - throughout 2008.
"We've had a great association even well before Samantha Miss," Bowman told the Newcastle Herald after Mugatoo's run on Tuesday.
"She wasn't our first group 1 winner together, but she was the first really quality horse we had together. Kris managed her so well and she really took us both to great heights. Hopefully Mugatoo can do the same."
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In terms of Mugatoo's training run against stablemates on the course proper, Bowman was impressed.
"I was pleased with him but I didn't expect anything else," he said.
"A horse of his caliber going to the race he's going to, you expect strong work and that's what he delivered. He's in good order and I'm looking forward to the race."
Bowman won the Doncaster Mile with Winx in 2016. Mugatoo will carry 55.5 kilograms next month.
Lees said he was unsure whether Mugatoo would back up for the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick on April 17 or travel to Brisbane for the winter carnival but admits another dip at the Cox Plate (2400m) remains the end goal this spring.
Mugatoo was fourth in Australia's famed weight-for-age race last year and won the All Star Mile at the same Melbourne track earlier this month.
"The aim will be to get him to the Cox Plate in the spring," Lees told the Newcastle Herald.
"That's a realistic goal. Having raced so well last year and having won there, he's got a pretty good record there."
Lees and Bowman later combined at Newcastle's race meeting on Tuesday with three-year-old I Say Hello taking out the Fillies And Mares Benchmark 64 Handicap (1200m).
Lees made it a double on his home track when three-year-old Rustic Steel followed it up in the next - a Colts, Geldings And Entires Benchmark 64 Handicap (1200m).
Chimes and Splendiferous ensured jockey Tim Clark and training team Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott kicked off proceedings with dual victories.
Marc Connors' Rebel Rama, Clare Cunningham's Ladylovestogamble and Nathan Doyle's Favra were the others to salute.
Apprentice jockey Tom Sherry will undergo surgery on a broken clavicle, having been transferred to John Hunter Hospital after being dislodged from his mount Invincible Fire around 100 metres out from the finishing post in the second race.
Newcastle's next card is April 10. There are three Saturday programs in both May (1, 8, 22) and June (5, 12, 26).
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