Nash Rawiller is back in action in Australia after serving his 15-month disqualification and he wasted no time returning to the winner’s circle.
The Australian, who was found guilty of receiving gifts or money in exchange for tips in Hong Kong last year, had two winners in his first meeting back at Kembla Grange. It was probably fitting the name of the horse he rode to victory was Escaped.
In the lead-up to his return, Rawiller broke his silence on the ordeal which saw him interrogated by the Independent Commission Against Corruption as well as being prevented from leaving Hong Kong for five months.
“I guess it wasn’t just the shock of getting the 15 months at first, but obviously what came after that,” Rawiller told Australian radio station RSN.
“Getting to the airport and about to get on a plane and being told I’m not going anywhere and having my passport suspended. I had one foot in the door. It was a bit of a shock.
“They investigated me for the next five months and I was held there with my passport taken off me.”
Rawiller admitted one of his first thoughts was the Chris Munce situation – the jockey served 20 months in jail over the “tips for bets affair” last decade.
“It is the first thing that comes to mind,” Rawiller said. “I knew what I’d done and knew I probably shouldn’t be in the position I was in, but I still had to go through the process.
“And you have that unknown little factor that you don’t know what someone else has said or done.
“I kept confident the whole way through that everything would be OK but they were very trying times obviously. I just had to let it all play out. It’s probably made me a better person.”
New trainer Douglas Whyte is wasting no time building his team for the start of the season with 38 horses already on his books.
The highest-rated horse is California Fortune (104), who comes across from the Tony Cruz yard, while he also has Uncle Steve – the last horse he rode in a race.
In total, Whyte has 23 stable transfers this off-season – 19 more than any other trainer. It looks like he’s got plenty of support from owners and will hit the ground running.