Leading Sydney jockey Nash Rawiller will miss the Epsom Handicap meeting at Royal Randwick on Saturday after electing to ride Fiorente in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington.
Rawiller would have picked up rides in the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m), Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) and Group 1 Metropolitan Handicap (2400m) at Randwick this weekend but has decided to stick to his plan to follow Fiorente wherever he raced during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival.
“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 told AAP.
“He’s just something pretty special.”
Fiorente recorded his first win in Australia with a sensational finishing burst in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 14 but will face a much tougher field in the Turnbull Stakes; with a number of leading Melbourne Cup and Cox Plate contenders set to contest the $500,000 Group 1 event.
Rawiller admits that Fiorente will face a tough test this weekend but is confident that son of Monsun will relish his first run at Flemington since he finished second behind Green Moon in the 2012 Melbourne Cup (3200m) – his first ever race start in Australia.
“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.
“He’s a really happy horse and feels great.”
Fiorente will face 2013 Melbourne Cup favourite Puissance De Lune for the first time on Saturday and the pair are now set to follow the same path to ‘the race that stops a nation’.
After running in the Turnbull Stakes this weekend, the imported stayers will contest the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 26 – the same race that Green Moon took part in before winning the Melbourne Cup in 2012.
Rawiller is chasing his second victory in the Turnbull Stakes after winning the race with Elvstroem in 2004.