Rawiller praises regular Eleven Eleven jockey after GC victory

Greg Hickman
Eleven Eleven was magnificent for Greg Hickman in the Gold Coast Cup on Saturday.

Nash Rawiller says he feels fortunate to have scored the ride on Eleven Eleven after the win in the $1m Magic Millions Cup at the Gold Coast on Saturday.

The Greg Hickman-trained Fastnet Rock gelding won his second-straight Magic Millions race and his third win on the trot this campaign, with a gritty victory in one of the main features on the stacked Gold Coast card.

Ridden expertly by Rawiller, the four-year-old landed three pairs back on the inside, before being presented with a run along the inside running rail.

The gelding took his time to work it all out on race day, with his first win coming at start number six, despite having a trip to Nowra on a Sunday in a bid to break his duck.

Eleven Eleven has a controversial victory to his name in last year’s Magic Millions 3YO Guineas due to Alligator Blood’s disqualification in the race, but he has gone on to prove himself as a worthy winner of the $2 million feature.

Despite taking nearly a year to get back into the winner’s stall, there were reasons, according to Rawiller.

“I rode him last preparation and he just sort of lost his way a little bit,” he said.

“I think it was a COVID thing, he was rushed to get up… just through the way it was with COVID at that time. He had sort of a mismatched preparation and it just didn’t work.

“He’s obviously gone out and had a good spell, come back and showed his true colours.”

The gelding’s first-up record explains his poor run when fresh in December, but he bounced back with wins in the Wyong 3&4YO Magic Millions Guineas, the Listed Christmas Classic at Canterbury, before the strong performance at the Gold Coast

Rawiller declared him as a horse he’d be happy to stick with, but believes full credit should go to the gelding’s regular rider, Keagan Latham.

Latham was forced off Eleven Eleven because of border restrictions between NSW and Queensland, with the South African hoop enjoying previous success on the Hickman horse.

“Keagan Latham has a had a fair bit to do with him too,” Rawiller said.

“Probably through circumstances he’s missed out on the ride today and full credit to him; he’s done a great job with the horse and hasn’t done a thing wrong.

“I was very happy to get the ride today.”

Rawiller was unlucky not to walk out of Aquis Park with a winning double, after only narrowly being beaten aboard Godolphin mare, Athiri.

The heavily backed favourite was all but home in the Magic Millions Fillies & Mares Classic, but was gunned down in the shadows of the post by $41 outside, Krone thanks to a peach of ride by Ryan Maloney.

“She (Athiri) came off a terrific win at Eagle Farm the start before and she did everything right bar win,” he said.

“It was just a horse who got a lucky passage up on the fence there and knocked us off.”

The Lonhro mare has been in a rich vein of form this preparation, winning four of her last six starts, which has Rawiller believing the $1.5million Coolmore Classic (1500m) on March 14 is not beyond her.

“She’s the sort of horse who will be no doubt be looking towards a race like the Coolmore,” Rawiller said.

“The 1300m today might have been slightly beyond her, but it’s a funny sort of track (Gold Coast), it’s a bit of a high pressure track and I think getting her to a track like Rosehill where you get a chance to find a rhythm and it’s a bit softer.

“1500m generally speaking where ridden quiet she could be really competitive.”

Rawiller will head back to his home in Sydney now, with all eyes on the Sydney Autumn Carnival.

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