Damien Oliver will find Fiorente in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) and Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) after connections made the decision to replace Nash Rawiller who rode the five-year-old in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Rawiller had ridden Fiorente in his three starts during his spring campaign, including his fast-finishing victory in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m), and the leading jockey had sacrificed riding at major Sydney race meetings to stick with the son of Monsun.
The leading jockey gave up rides in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) and Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) to partner Fiorente in the Turnbull Stakes last weekend, where the classy entire moved into outright favoritism for the Melbourne Cup with a fast-finishing effort.
Trainer Gai Waterhouse told Rawiller of her decision on Sunday morning and revealed that owners were keen to get a regular Melbourne-based jockey on board.
“Damien Oliver will ride Fiorente in the Cox Pate and the Melbourne Cup, Nash was only ever booked race to race,” Waterhouse told News Limited.
“The owners and I made the decision Damien would ride the horse.
“This has just been something that’s been thought about for a long time; the owners wanted a jockey based in Melbourne, someone who is riding the tracks every day.”
Rawiller handled the news with a great deal of professionalism and told News Limited that his new goal was to find a horse good enough to beat Fiorente in the Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup.
“I’ll be happy to try and find a replacement that can beat him,” Rawiller said.
“I gave up a lot to give myself every opportunity to ride the horse, and I’ve got no regrets about that.
I can look back on that and say to myself, I gave myself every chance to ride him.”
Rawiller made the move to end his formal partnership with Waterhouse towards the end of last season, to enhance his chances of winning the Sydney Riders’ Premiership, and said he has no regrets about the decision.
“We’re both free agents, I made the decision four months ago to try and spread my wings a bit, Gai and I both agreed to that, and I’m catching and killing my own,” Rawiller said.
“I’m very happy with the way I’m going.
“Had I not that made the decision when I did, there’s no way I would have won the premiership.
“It’s been tremendous the support I’ve got.”
It will be business as usual for Waterhouse and Rawiller this Saturday; with the leading jockey set to ride Divine Calling in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m).