Superstar jockey Hugh Bowman has resigned himself to missing champion racemare Winx's return to racing in Sydney next month after being suspended at last night's mega Ellerslie meeting.
But he says he has no idea who will be in line for the hottest seat in racing when Winx resumes in the Apollo Stakes in Sydney on February 17.
Bowman was handed an eight-meeting suspension for careless riding after allowing Five To Midnight to love out at the 250m mark in the $200,000 City Of Auckland Cup, causing checks to two others runners.
Bowman, who rides in Hong Kong today, is already facing an 11-meeting suspension handed down to him in Australia on Friday so his Ellerslie penalty won't start until after that, meaning he will be sidelined for Winx's planned return.
Slightly stunned by the sentence as the reality of missing the Winx ride sunk in, Bowman quickly went to work on his phone before making the call he will not be appealing the suspension.
"I have a lot of other commitments coming up to and I can't put the suspension so I will have to cop it," he told the Herald.
"And I am sure that will mean missing the first ride back on her as I am sure Chris (Waller, trainer) won't want to change her programme just to suit me, which I understand.
"It will be a strange experience watching her go around without me but that is part of the game and there is no point me carrying on about it." Questioned as to who will fill in guiding the Queen of Racing, Bowman sounded genuinely believable that he had no idea.
"I really don't know. Obviously they are going to have plenty of option and Chris will have a plan.
"Its disappointing for me but what can I do?" Suspension aside, Bowman had a successful return to New Zealand, riding Thee Auld Floozie to win the $100,000 Westbury Classic and finishing second on Al Hasa in the $1million Karaka Million for two-year-olds.
The last time Winx raced with another jockey aboard was when Kiwi hoop James McDonald rode her in the Theo Marks Stakes in 2015, but McDonald is still serving an 18-month suspension which doesn't end until mid May.
Waller and Winx's owners are expected to take at least a few days before announcing who will ride the three-time Cox Plate winner and Australian sporting icon.