Nash Rawiller has received a vote of confidence from some of NSW’s biggest stables with six rides in his return to Sydney racing at Rosehill.
Rawiller, who was disqualified for 15-months in April last year for tipping horses he was riding in Hong Kong, will make his comeback at Kembla Grange on Thursday with Saturday’s meeting marking his first back in the metropolitan arena.
He has picked up two Rosehill mounts for Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, including Stampede in the Listed Winter Challenge (1500m), and has also had support from top trainer Kris Lees who has booked him to partner High Power in the Robb Report Handicap (2400m).
High Power has mixed his form this campaign but Lees is hoping a gear change and a firmer track might help the four-year-old deliver Rawiller a win on his first Saturday back riding in town.
“I’ve added blinkers to his gear and while he needs to turn things around, he could do back on better ground,” Lees said.
While Rawiller is making a fresh start, Lees is winding up his most successful season.
He trails only Chris Waller in the NSW trainers’ premiership, his runners amassing more than $10 million prize money in the past 12 months.
The Newcastle horseman will again have a strong representation at Rosehill where his team includes Take It Inturn in the Winter Challenge.
The five-year-old has finished runner-up at his past two starts, including a narrow second to Saturday’s rival Duca Valentinois in Listed grade in Brisbane.
Lees has given the horse a month to recover from the trip and says he is due for a change of fortune.
“He’s been unlucky not to have got a prize. His last run was a very narrow defeat at Eagle Farm but he ran really well,” Lees said.
“He’s had a little bit of a freshen up since with a view we might stretch him out into the early spring.
“He would certainly prefer soft ground, that said it was a good three at Eagle Farm and he raced well and he looks in good order.”
A field of 13 has accepted for the final black-type race of the Sydney season including the Waller-trained Winter Stakes winner Ekstein, who will be looking to end her career with a brace of Listed wins before she is retired and served by US Triple Crown winner Justify.
Stablemate Seaway will also tackle the Winter Challenge, a race which has been a happy hunting ground for Waller who has won four of the past five editions.