Group 1 winning jockey Nash Rawiller has been called upon to resurrect the chances of last year’s Caulfield Cup winner Southern Speed when she steps out to defend her title at Caulfield on Saturday week.
Inform jockey Glen Boss had been booked to ride Southern Speed in the Group 1 $2.5m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 20 but relinquished the ride after the mare could only beat one runner home when she put in the worst run of her life in the Group 1 $500,000 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington last Saturday.
Boss was quick to be snapped up by the Peter Moody stable for the import Sneak A Peak while last year’s Caulfield Cup winning jockey Craig Williams has stuck with Melbourne Cup winner Dunaden.
Trainer Leon Macdonald is confident Southern Speed will bounce back from her lacklustre fifteen to Green Moon last weekend and is more than happy to have a jockey with Rawiller’s credentials to take over the reins.
“I’m more than happy to have a rider of Nash’s calibre aboard,” Macdonald said.
“He’s won a Caulfield Cup before and is a great jockey.”
Rawiller claimed the crown of Australia’s leading rider last season with eleven Group 1 victories as well as riding Atomic Force to win the Group 1 NZ$200,000 Blandford Lodge Railway Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie in New Zealand on January 1.
And Rawiller knows what it takes to win a Caulfield Cup having won the rich 2400m Handicainp in 2004 aboard the Tony Vasil trained international Group 1 winner Elvstroem.
Macdonald was bitterly disappointed after Southern Speed’s failure at Flemington but has been unable to pin point any physical problems with the five year old.
“The vets have been over her and the chiropractor has been over her with a fine tooth comb and there is nothing wrong,” Macdonald said.
“We’ve given her a couple of easy days on the water walker and she is fine.”
But Macdonald did come to the mare’s defence indicating that the hard track may not have been to her liking and after being slowly away was forced to race very wide throughout the race.
“She missed the start and travelled four-deep the trip – she had a horrible run,” Macdonald said.
“She might have jarred up just slightly, but I’m not blaming that.”
“We’ll put it down to circumstances.”
“We’ll press on regardless. It’s onwards and upwards and we’ll see if I can turn her around.”
Macdonald, who trains in partnership with his son-in-law Andrew Gluyas is confident that Southern Speed can regain the form she showed early in the Spring when she won the Group 2 $300,000 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 8 after winning over 1400m in the Listed $80,000 Sportingbet Penny Edition Stakes at Morphettville on August 25.
Boss will team up with the Moody stable replacing Luke Nolen on Sneak A Peek after the Italian import has failed to run a place at his three Australian starts.
Sneak A Peek arrived in Australia with six wins to his credit including a win in the Group 2 €126,000 Premio Federico Tesio (2211m) at Milan, Italy on September 18, 2011 with Moody’s other Italian import Voila Ici finishing third.
Stable rider Nolen will have the pick of Moody’s two other Caulfield Cup runners, Voila Ici and 2011 Group 1 $400,000 Schweppes Oaks (2000m) winner Lights Of Heaven who showed signs of her best form with a third to Lamasery in the Group 2 $200,000 Bacardi Hill Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on September 22.