Daniel Bowman has never counted the number of owners involved in Begood Toya Mother, but estimates the figure would be between forty and fifty people. Even Daniel’s mother Lisa and grandmother Betty are hidden away somewhere among the syndicates who race the promising five year old.
Daniel says he was more nervous than all of them put together as the nine runners moved into line for the Regal Roller Stakes at Caulfield.
Despite the popular opinion that Begood Toya Mother is a pretty good horse, there were several factors on Daniel’s mind in the hours leading up to Saturday’s race.
The gelding hadn’t raced for eleven weeks, but he was hoping a Horsham trial and a rousing gallop between races at Warrnambool ten days earlier would have “topped him off”.
He was concerned that this was his first time ever over 1200m. “All of his previous starts were between 1350-1600 metres, and I hoped he’d be sharp enough against some pretty slick sprinters”, explained Daniel.
But most of all, the trainer was hoping that all the pre-race hype would be justified. “Time and time again over the years we’ve seen good winter form fail to stack up in the spring”, said Bowman.
On all three counts the talented trainer needn’t have worried. You only had to watch Begood Toya Mother hit the line to realise fitness wasn’t a concern. You only needed to watch him cross his rivals easily, to realise he was sharp enough for the sprint course.
And on the third and most worrying point, he definitely carried his winter form into the spring in defeating a six time winner in Haunted, a five time Gr 1 placegetter in Fundamentalist and another Gr 1 placegetter in Behemoth.
This is all pretty exciting stuff for soon-to-be thirty three year old Daniel Bowman who loved two things about the Myboycharlie colt when he first saw him at the yearling sales in Adelaide. “He had the most fluent walk and the most magnificent coat colour”, recalled Daniel. “I wish I could find another one like him for $28,000”.
The Warrnambool trainer had to exercise all of his patience before his hopes and dreams began to materialise. “He showed absolutely nothing in his first two trials, but they did bring him on to some degree”.
They brought him on too much in fact, because he raced fiercely and threw his head about badly in his first few races. Despite this he was able to win an Echuca Maiden (1600m) at only his second start. He failed to win again in three outings and Daniel promptly put him away for a lengthy spell.
He was still a trifle “hot” when he resumed in March of this year, but at last the latent talent started to surface. He won BM 64’s at Warrnambool and Cranbourne followed by a smashing 6.5 length victory in a BM 70 on the Hillside track.
Daniel Bowman continued to keep his cool as Begood Toya Mother scored a comfortable BM 78 win at Flemington, followed by a five length demolition job on BM 84 opposition at Caulfield.
The five year old made it six straight on Saturday, but his trainer is keeping it all in perspective. “Normally he’s a handful in the tie up stalls, but on Saturday he was half asleep”, said Daniel. “He paraded calmly and travelled generously in the race. He’s slowly getting it all together but he’ll need to if he’s going to be competitive from this point on”.
Daniel was in his late teens when he first visited the stables of a young Warrnambool trainer called Ciaron Maher. “Ciaron was just starting off with a small team and was agreeable to my helping out around the stable”, recalled Bowman.” I was there when he won his very first Group 1 with the 100/1 pop Tears I Cry in the Emirates Stakes of 2007. I remember the euphoria and excitement around the stable and I think that was the time the spark was ignited for me”.
Daniel actually became a member of Ciaron’s staff for a short time, but later decided to grab an opportunity with the famous Lindsay Park operation. This was the time David Hayes was spending a lot of time in Victoria developing his Euroa property and Tony McEvoy was Daniel’s principal mentor. “I had twelve months under Tony’s tutelage and it was a wonderful learning curve”, said the Warrnambool horseman.
Next step for the adventurous Mr Bowman was a stint in Darwin with top trainer Stephen Brown. “Stephen hadn’t long returned from a very successful training exercise in Macau”, said Daniel. “He’s an outstanding horseman and my experience at the “top end” was priceless”.
Following his sojourn in Darwin’s tropical climate, a return to the temperate air of the “Bool” greatly appealed to a young horseman who was now firmly “hooked’ on a future with thoroughbreds.
Jarrod Mclean quickly sought the services of the now thoroughly experienced Daniel Bowman and that job eventually led him to a foreman’s role in Darren Weir’s rapidly expanding Warrnambool training operation.
During his time with Weir, Daniel got to work with such talented horses as Gr2 and Gr 3 winner Puissance De Lune, dual Gr 1 winner Trust In A Gust, Gr 1 winner Platelet, dual Gr 3 winner Signoff and SA Oaks winner May’s Dream.
Darren Weir generously allowed his new foreman to train a couple of horses of his own from the Wangoom stables. “One of them was Jarrah Twist who won eight races for me after we purchased him from Rick Hore Lacy”, said Daniel. “I think my success with Jarrah Twist triggered my decision to go solo”.
Daniel attained his trainer’s licence at the commencement of the 2014/2015 racing season. He was supported by several owners he’d known over a period of years and also attracted the patronage of syndicates. He’s had up to forty horses in work at times, but is currently working a team of thirty.
The best performer in the stable is Daniel’s wife Denita who runs the office with great efficiency and doubles as a strapper on race day. She also excels in the specialist field of motherhood, with Charlie (4) and Annie (2) her primary focus.
Daniel has the benefit of top facilities at the Warrnambool track and has a special arrangement with fellow trainer Matthew Williams who recently took over the training of triple Group 1 winner Gailo Chop. “Matthew is kind enough to let me use a water walker and heavy sand track at his property”, said Bowman. “We also float horses to nearby Lady Bay beach when required. The “Bool” is a horse heaven”.
Daniel’s association with jockey Declan Bates has become a talking point in racing circles. Irish born Declan fell in love with Australia when he represented his country in an Ireland v Australia jumps series in 2012.
He rode successfully over the jumps in Ireland, before switching to the flat and moving to England. He rode sixty winners in a relatively short time, but with the English winter approaching in 2015 he made the decision to try his luck in Australia. His natural talent and a strong work ethic have seen him make steady progress in Victoria and he too is hoping Begood Toya Mother can continue his spectacular rise.
Declan and his partner Jennifer, are currently enjoying the recent arrival of their first born Molly.
In case you haven’t caught up with the story behind the naming of the hugely talented horse who’s now rattled up six straight wins with Declan Bates in the saddle - it goes like this!
Daniel’s only brother Marcus loves a punt and constantly asks the question “have you got a tip Daniel?” The trainer has heard the question so many times, he instinctively replies “Yes I’ve got a tip - be good to your mother”.
After a couple of unsuccessful naming applications, it was decided they would rearrange the spelling of the words and turn the expression into a name for their favourite horse.
Whatever his name he’s a hugely talented horse in the hands of a hugely talented trainer. Que sera, sera!
(Banner image courtesy Darryl Sherer - Begood Toya Mother is not short of an owner.)