Hugh Bowman admits the social media reaction to his role in a race day fall has taken a toll on him and his family.
The top jockey and regular rider of champion Winx was on Thursday suspended for six weeks for careless riding aboard Smart Image at the final meeting of the 2019-20 season at Rosehill.
Bowman was attempting to angle off the fence on Smart Image near the 300m to position himself outside the heels of the leader, Mr Colorful, ridden by Glyn Schofield.
As he shifted, he made heavy contact with Andrew Adkins’ mount Hot ‘N’ Hazy, which clipped heels and fell.
Adkins broke his leg in two places, fractured a shoulder and suffered several broken ribs.
The horse was unable to be saved.
Bowman admitted the incident had impacted him, as had comments on social media.
“The circumstances and the drama of the consequences of what you deem carelessness has made this a very high-profile case, much more so than your standard careless-riding situation,” Bowman told stewards.
“That’s had an affect on me and my family and I’d like that to be considered.”
Bowman maintained his position that he took due care aboard Smart Image and other factors contributed to the scrimmage.
He pleaded not guilty to the charge of careless riding and said while head-on footage showed there was insufficient room for his horse between Mr Colorful and Hot ‘N’ Hazy, the rear angle presented a different case.
Bowman did admit his timing might have been slightly out because he had not ridden in a race for five weeks and also expressed remorse at the consequences suffered by Adkins and Hot ‘N’ Hazy.
“Unfortunately, the injuries sustained to Andrew, they’re not life-threatening but they’re significant,” Bowman said.
“I’ve been found careless and despite the fact of pleading not guilty, I am remorseful the incident happened.
“I understand what we do is dangerous and split-second decisions can turn out to have bad consequences, as one has in this case.”
Stewards generally use a careless-riding template to determine penalty but that was thrown out the window due to the seriousness of the incident.
Presiding stipe Wade Birch said their starting point was a three-month ban, however, given Bowman’s outstanding safety record – he has been suspended once for careless riding in the past 12 months – and the number of feature race meetings he will miss, the penalty was reduced to six weeks.
Bowman has not taken rides at Randwick on Saturday and will begin his suspension immediately.
He will miss the first Group One race of the Sydney season, the Winx Stakes on August 22, and will return for a carnival meeting at Rosehill on September 12.
Schofield and Robbie Dolan also attended the inquiry and both were cleared of careless riding.