Nash Rawiller has credited his teenage son Campbell for helping spark a late-season revival brought about by better relationships with local trainers.
“Fried rice” – or “chow fan” as he has been dubbed by local media – not only bookended the day with wins on Ray Of Gold in the first and All You Wish in the last, but he also bookended the season, having won the first race of the season on Magical Beam all the way back on September 6.
After that opening day win, Rawiller was struggling in his second season – he had just six winners before the turn of the year – but has hit back with a late rally, with eight wins from the last six meetings giving him 30 wins and a place in the top 10 of the jockeys’ championship.
A big part of the second-half surge has been Rawiller’s engagement with the local handlers – 10 of Rawiller’s last 11 winners came for Chinese trainers and 19 of his 30 overall – and the 41-year-old Australian said that can be put down to his 15-year-old’s son’s encouragement.
“My communication skills with the local trainers probably weren’t where they should be, and Campbell really pushed me to go and speak to them more and chase the rides,” Rawiller said in between signing autographs for fans that he has clearly won over as well.
“It has taken a lot of time, and I am so thankful to Campbell – he has really acted as an icebreaker, he speaks to them as well and really knows his stuff. These last three months, he has meant so much to me and I know he has got a lot of satisfaction out of it as well. I’ve had to go back to the bottom and fight my way back to really show what I can do.”
All You Wish hadn’t won for more than 18 months, but the Dennis Yip Chor-hong-trained veteran’s rating hadn’t dropped much either, and with top weight in a competitive race, Rawiller admitted he wasn’t exactly confident.
“I was confident in the horse’s ability, but with the weight and as an old horse, you need everything to go right,” Rawiller said after he ground out a short head victory following a last-to-first run. “To his credit, when he got to within a half a length of them, his heart took over and he really wanted to win.”