Australian jockey Hugh Bowman was taken to hospital after a nasty fall at Sha Tin on Saturday that forced Jockey Club stewards to abandon the Class Four Holly Handicap (1,650m) at its halfway point.

Caspar Fownes-trained Fast Pace dislodged Bowman as the seven-year-old galloper suffered a fatal heart attack in the early stages of the Holly Handicap.

Fast Pace was fourth as the Holly Handicap field passed the winning post for the first time, but the four-time victor did not accompany the rest of the 11 runners around the first turn, continuing in a straight line until collapsing in the middle of the all-weather track and dumping Bowman in the dirt.

With both Fast Pace and Bowman requiring urgent medical attention in a dangerous part of the course, Jockey Club stewards sounded the emergency siren as the Holly Handicap field made their way down the back straight and declared the race void.

Bowman was conscious and complaining of a headache before ambulance officers transported him to hospital for further examinations and tests.

The Christmas Eve meeting had begun well for Bowman, who rode the winners of two of the first four races, including Forerunner for Benno Yung Tin-pang in the Class Four (Restricted) Amaryllis Handicap (1,400m).

A HK$3 million buy at July’s Hong Kong International Sale, three-year-old gelding Forerunner stamped himself as a possible Hong Kong Derby (2,000m) player with his outstanding debut performance.

A son of Almanzor and a half-brother of three-time Group One winner Miss Triple City, Forerunner was purchased on behalf of the Jockey Club by Michael Kinane, the Irish horseman who sourced reigning Group One Hong Kong Cup champion Romantic Warrior.

“He gave me a good feel,” said Bowman of Forerunner, who was the first leg of Yung’s meeting double.

“He was very straightforward. He probably lacked a bit of confidence and a bit of physical strength, so there’s still good improvement with him. He’s certainly got an engine.”

Four for Twelve at Sha Tin equals 1,500 in Hong Kong for record-breaking Purton

Bowman rode Manfred Man Ka-leung’s Compassion Spirit to win the Class Four Hibiscus Handicap (1,400m) – it was the six-year-old horse’s first Sha Tin success on his 22nd appearance at the venue – in the race before he fell from ill-fated Fast Pace.