Nash Rawiller has again turned his back on one of Sydney’s richest racedays to continue chasing spring carnival success on Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup hopeful Fiorente.
Rawiller rides Fiorente in Saturday’s Group One Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington where the horse’s opposition includes the only one ahead of him in Melbourne Cup betting – Puissance De Lune.
While Rawiller is riding in Melbourne on Saturday, Sydney’s biggest day of the spring will unfold at Randwick with the Group One treble of the Epsom Handicap, Metropolitan and Flight Stakes.
Sydney’s premier rider, Rawiller missed the $1 million Golden Rose in Sydney on September 14 to partner the Gai Waterhouse-trained Fiorente to victory in the Group Two Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes at Moonee Valley.
“That was the unfortunate thing that I was going to miss a couple of good meetings, but I’ve just felt from the first time I sat on him that I would follow him wherever he goes,” Rawiller said.
“He’s just something pretty special.”
Fiorente had two Moonee Valley gallops last week ahead of his Cox Plate mission on October 26.
But first he’ll tackle the Turnbull where he will race at Flemington for the first time since his Australian debut last spring when he was second to Green Moon in the Melbourne Cup.
“I think Saturday is going to be one of the hardest races of the spring with the way it’s come together, but I really think my bloke will improve getting to Flemington,” Rawiller said.
“He’s going to love the wide open spaces and it will be a very interesting race.”
The Turnbull Stakes has attracted 31 nominations including 16 Group One winners.
Chris Waller has Group One-winning trio Royal Descent, Hawkspur and Foreteller entered.
Last year’s winner Green Moon is one of six horses from owner Lloyd Williams’s team among the nominations.
Williams-owned runners have won three of the past four editions of the Turnbull with Zipping successful in 2010 and Efficient winning in 2009.
Rawiller says Fiorente is “right where he needs to be” ahead of the spring majors.
“He’s a really happy horse and feels great,” the jockey said.