Muswellbrook races: Lionsteps out to break maiden status

Lionsteps, Jan Bowen’s Christmas present to her granddaughter Taylor, shapes as the proverbial ‘gift horse’ for punters when she lines-up in the Gold Sponsors Maiden (1280m) at Muswellbrook on Monday.

Lionsteps is a daughter of Bowen’s former speedy mare Cordelion who won two of her 23 starts including one at Muswellbrook when ridden by Greg Ryan who has steered Lionsteps at the last two of her five career runs.

Bowen’s filly turned in a herculean performance at Muswellbrook two weeks ago when coming from last at the 400m to be beaten just over a length in record time.


“Greg rode her last time and said ‘put blinkers on her’ so we have got the blinkers on and so I expect her to go close (to winning),” Bowen said. “I couldn’t be happier with her.’’


Lionsteps is by Sidestep, the sire of Golden Slipper winner Kiamichi, and is the second foal of Bowen’s own Storm Cat descendant, Cordelion.

“Lionsteps is a half to Timion and I have got another half brother to them both out here by Outreach,’’ Bowen said.

“I gave Taylor a share in Lionsteps for Christmas a couple of years back. She straps her and is there at the stable everyday looking after (the horses).’’

Racing and Sports records show that two jockeys account for almost 30 per cent of Bowen’s career wins as a trainer.

Lionsteps (not pictured) will be ridden Greg Ryan, who has steered Lionsteps at the last two of her five career runs.
media_cameraLionsteps (not pictured) will be ridden Greg Ryan, who has steered Lionsteps at the last two of her five career runs.

One is Greg Ryan, the other is Jeff Penza.

Ryan is on Lionsteps today while Penza has the job on lightly-raced gelding Jekyll in the opener.

“Jeff and I go way back,’’ Bowen says.

“I gave him a horse years ago that I used to train called Fireball and Jeff is jumping him and he just loves that horse.


“He is actually going really well. He was in that jumping competition up here, I think they call if Jump Off and he got to Finals last year but he clipped one rail. Jeff said as long as he lives Fireball has got a home there with him and his wife.’’


Jekyll raced handy before tiring late on debut in a 1000m maiden at home on September 3.

Today he will come back to 900m but probably won’t threaten the course record time that his stablemate Emilette set at the most recent Muswellbrook meeting on October 5.

“Jekyll has got heaps of speed, we are just sort of educating him, whether he can win or not, I am not sure but I have got a good jock on so we will do our best,’’ Bowen said.

Bowen has won more races at Muswellbrook than any other venue, not surprisingly given it is her home track.

One of those on her tally is Peggy’s Time whose lone win in 23 starts was at Muswellbrook.

‘’They just ran her off her legs at Dubbo (over the 1000m) the other day so we will just see she goes over the 1280m. She has drawn well so she should be there handy without having to do too much work,’’ Bowen says.

Will Skye Banner (not pictured) back up his Taree win when he steps out over 1000m at Muswellbrook?
media_cameraWill Skye Banner (not pictured) back up his Taree win when he steps out over 1000m at Muswellbrook?


Flashy gelding Skye Banner has most of the looks, and at least some of talent, spread among esteemed members of what many believe to be the greatest family of thoroughbreds in the Australian Stud Book.

The Brett Partelle three-year-old heads to Muswellbrook on Monday off an impressive debut win at Taree over 1000m on September 15.

Skye Banner is a powerfully built chestnut with three white legs and as his official birth certificate states ‘a star, stripe and snip’ on his face.

“He’s got the flaxen mane is very showy,’’ Partelle says. “He looks a bit like Bentley Biscuit who is from the same family and he’s got some of the markings and attributes of Rory’s Jester too who is also in his pedigree.’’

Skye Banner is a son of Starspangledbanner and a direct descendant of the champion filly and subsequent broodmare jewel, Denise’s Joy.

Skye Banner was sold at the Adelaide Magic Millions Yearling Sale in 2019 which makes him eligible for the $2 million Magic Million 3YO Guineas (1400m) in January 2021.

“He is a nice up and coming horse. He is ticking all the boxes and I am very happy with him,’’ Partelle said.


“He is going to make a nice seven furlong (1400m) horse later on. He has got a good length about him and he is headed in the right direction.


“He has always had a little bit of a ‘high nature’ in that he showed a little bit of anxiety early on until he has learnt his trade but he is starting to get his head around. Within the next year he is going to be a really nice horse.’’

Joining Skye Banner on the float from Wyong to Muswellbrook today is the lightly-raced Aytobe who was beaten a short half head at his one and only prior visit to the venue.

“We were going to kick him off at Taree (on September 15) but he had an incident in the wash-bay where he slipped over and was a late scratching which was a pity,’’ Partelle said.

“We have taken a few weeks to get him right and made sure the bit of bruising was out of him and he is in very good order.’’


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Originally published as Muswellbrook: Bowen’s ‘gift horse’ to punters

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