Campbell Rawiller punches home Montenegro Man in the Walk For Cancer “Thank You” Handicap
Campbell Rawiller remembers visiting The Valley in 2010 as a 9-year-old as his father Nash rode More Joyous to a fifth placing in the Cox Plate. Fast forward 10 years and a young Rawiller is no longer watching on from the stands, with Montenegro Man his first Valley winner at the most recent Ladbrokes Friday Night Lights meeting.
In a driving finish, Rawiller punched home the son of Zoustar in a thrilling finale against his great mate Lachlan Neindorf and for one special part-owner – “Mr B.W. McAvaney”
“Someone told me after the race Bruce owned the horse”
“It might have been a good thing I didn’t know beforehand… I love Bruce, he’s a legend and I love watching anything he is presenting,” professed the keen Richmond supporter.
The ultimate professional, even Bruce would be impressed with the young Rawiller. Astute, articulate, and ambitious are some of the words one may call upon to describe him.
16 previous rides at the tight-turning circuit had produced two placings, but a recent phone call to his Dad, a winner of over 50 Group 1 races, changed his mindset.
“It’s quite a testing track and each time I’ve walked away learning a bit more how to ride it”
“I was probably trying to be a perfectionist, but Dad said if you come around them you will often get beaten so back yourself in and ride for luck, so when it paid off I walked out full of confidence”
Watching Rawiller in a close finish it is hard not to draw comparisons to his father’s riding style. Rawiller spent much of his childhood playing a key part in Nash’s Hong Kong success and feels it put him in good stead and an insight that other jockeys wouldn’t ever experience.
“I do get competitive in a close finish, I just want to win and the adrenaline rush kicks in so I’ve probably had to refine my style just to bring it under control, but it is certainly modelled on years of watching Dad”
“I loved Hong Kong and learnt so much from those top jockeys about form analysis, tempo and tactics and other than a Pony Club I hadn’t done so much of the horse riding, but I had a head start on the other parts”
“It came a time to put it into practice and I came back to Australia and based myself with Logan McGill who has taught me a big chunk of what I know now”
Rawiller will get a chance to enhance his Valley CV for his master on Friday night when he partners the 2018/19 Ladbrokes 55 Second Challenge winner Written Choice.
“His first-up run over the 955 metres was good, but he is going to be fitter now and if he can stick on for a bit longer I am sure he will run a great race,” Rawiller believes.
The Ladbrokes Friday Night Lights Season is often an opportunity for apprentices to make a name for themselves and that’s exactly what Rawiller plans to capitalize on.
“I’ve lost my country claim now so it’s time to stand up and make the next transition on the city tracks”
“It was a bit surreal winning without the crowds, so I look forward to the amazing atmosphere coming back and soaking that in after a winner… I obviously had a lot of experience in Hong Kong with night racing at Happy Valley”.
While success over the Ladbrokes Friday Night Lights Season might be the immediate focus, he and his Father share one common ambition - the Ladbrokes Cox Plate.
“Dad has had a few rides in the race, and I know it’s the race he wouldn’t want to retire without winning and I can certainly see why”
Rawiller is riding a wave of success on and off the track, with the keen golfer having also been awarded the Drummond Golf Ride of the Night for his winning ride on Montenegro Man. He will also be calling Mornington home for the distant future settling on his first house this week.
“It’s an exciting time buying my first house - Christmas for the Rawiller’s is usually in Bendigo and a bit of a crazy time for us all to catch up, but maybe I’ll have to put my hand up one year to host now,” admitted Rawiller.
One thing is for certain, the Rawiller Christmas gathering would be the envy of any thoroughbred family and they are sure to be beaming with pride of their latest progeny’s achievements in the saddle.