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Bowen unlikely to raise bar with At Witz End

Thu 23 May 2024

By Glenn Davis

Lismore trainer Daniel Bowen is likely to resist the temptation to raise the 2024 Queensland Racing Carnival bar with At Witz End if the veteran sprinter claims the Listed Chief De Beers at Doomben on Saturday.

At Witz End gave Bowen the thrill of a lifetime when the trainer claimed his first stakes race in the Listed ATC Trophy at the Sunshine Coast on May 11.

The 38-year-old took over the stables of his late father Danny Bowen following his death 10 years ago and bought At Witz End for $10,000 at an online auction.

“He was an eight-year-old and hadn’t won for two and a half years when I bought him,” Bowen said.

“He was trained just behind our stable by Owen Glue who had to move to Ballina following the floods here.

“I’ve always liked him and Dad was a very good trainer of older horses and getting them to win again and I just learnt off him.”

Bowen can’t pinpoint the reasons for At Witz End’s dramatic form improvement which has seen the veteran of 62 starts win three of his five starts since taking him over.

“I don’t know what it is, whether it’s a change in his feed or a new environment,” Bowen said.

“I was just hoping to win a race in town with him if I got him right.

“After he won at Doomben, I immediately thought about setting him for the Ramornie in July.

“The Ramornie is the biggest race in our area in the Northern Rivers and it’s a race I’d love to win.

“If you win the Ramornie, you’re remembered forever in this area.”

Bowen has retained jockey Samantha Collett who has ridden At Witz End three times for two wins and a second.

Bowen revealed he had planned to start At Witz End in Saturday's Group 3 BRC Sprint over 1350 metres.

“I was going to run him in the BRC Sprint but he missed some work with all the rain we’ve had here lately so I decided to go for the shorter Chief De Beers,” he said.

“He might find the 1110 metres a shade short but I don’t want to push him.”

At Witz End isn’t nominated for next month’s Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap as Bowen fears it could be a bridge too far.

“If he was a four-year-old, I’d definitely have a go,” he said.

“But, he’s rising nine and running him in a race like the Stradbroke could flatten him.

“I’d prefer to place him where it’s easier for him to win so he’ll go on to the Hinkler next and then the Ramornie and The Kosciuszko.

“The Kosciuszko in Sydney is for NSW horses only and is worth $1 million to the winner.”