Sydney premiership winning hoop Nash Rawiller is likely to return to Ellerslie for the Karaka Million to ride Warhorse after victory in the Group 3 Eclipse Stakes (1200m) on Sunday.
Warhorse provided the first of a winning double for Rawiller who piloted Atomic Force to win the Group 1 Railway Stakes.
The 36-year-old was taken by the Jason Bridgman-trained General Nediym colt’s easy 2 1/2-length win in the $70,000 two-year-old feature.
The win on a slow track was enough to install Warhorse as early favourite for New Zealand’s richest race, the Listed $NZ1m Karaka Million (1200m) on January 29.
Rawiller gave a positive answer on a possible return to New Zealand.
“Being a Sunday, I’d be surprised if I couldn’t come,” he said.
“I’d have to run it by Gai (Waterhouse) first.”
Rawiller is stable rider for Waterhouse in Sydney.
The corresponding NSW meetings on the 29th are at Parkes and Ballina.
Despite being posted three wide, Warhorse responded willingly to Rawiller’s riding and defeated stablemate Irish Rebel the $2.30 Eclipse favourite.
That horse worked hard for the front from his outside draw and never seemed comfortable on the rain-affected track.
Rawiller said he expected further improvement from Warhorse.
“He got a bit of upside about him,” Rawiller said.
“He went to the other horse quickly and went past him easily and with a bit more pressure on, I think he’ll be just as good.”
Warhorse took his earnings to $NZ44,000 enough to guarantee the youngster a start in the Classic.
“He’ll be safely in the Karaka Million now and he’ll probably go straight in,” Bridgman said.
“He’ll be a chance for sure because he’s so professional
“They’ll go hard early and he’ll be running on strongly late.”
The colt was purchased by David Ellis as a yearling at Karaka for $NZ100,000 last year.
He races in the colours of Singapore owner Weng Fei Tang.
“I think he’ll only race in New Zealand for his two-year-old year, that was the deal going in,” Bridgman said.
Warhorse’s win was his first in three starts, following an Ellerslie second on debut and unlucky sixth in the Listed Wentwood Grange Stakes at Te Rapa last month.
“He had no luck at all at Te Rapa,” Bridgman said.
“He got smashed.
“He clipped a heel at the 500m and then got carted off on the bend on a day you couldn’t make up ground from the back.”
Bridgman said Irish Rebel would also be prepared for the Karaka Million, along with Single Act, a maiden two-year-old who ran third at Ellerslie on debut last month.