Rawiller feels the love despite missing out on Cup ride
RACING: Brad Rawiller won't be aboard when Real Love contests Tuesday's Melbourne Cup, but the veteran hoop says "I'll be cheering as hard as anyone" for the Darren Weir-trained six-year-old.
"She's been a great horse for me," he said.
West Australian jockey William Pike has been handed the ride for the "race that stops a nation".
But Rawiller will be in the saddle for tomorrow's Lexus Stakes (2500m), aiming for a fifth win on the talented stayer.
She finished fifth in the Caulfield Cup a fortnight ago with Craig Williams on board, but is primed for today's Group 3 hitout at Flemington as she builds towards the Melbourne Cup.
"It (the Lexus) looks a great race for her," the 37-year-old Victorian told Australian Regional Media.
"She couldn't have been more impressive in the Caulfield Cup - she had nothing go her way. To be able to run fifth was outstanding.
"I guess it just comes back to whether the Caulfield Cup has taken a bit out of her.
"We're going to go in there (tomorrow) full of confidence ... just sometimes you don't know how it'll be after a run like that."
Real Love joined the Melbourne stable of master trainer Darren Weir about a year ago after dominating in Western Australia.
Rawiller has been first past the post in four of the past seven times he's ridden her - the last in a Group 3 at Moonee Valley last month after a couple of wins at Doomben in May.
Before that, Pike was in the saddle for her first six wins as she made a name for herself on her home turf.
For Rawiller, there's no hard feelings towards the lighter Pike.
"William Pike's a great rider," he said. "What he was able to do last season was incredible.
"He'll match it with the best, no question. The horse will lose nothing with him on board.
"He's got a great record on her too.
"For me, he's always been a great help when I go over to Perth. The least I can do is help him out when he gets here."
Rawiller's last ride in the Melbourne Cup was in 2010 when aboard Harris Tweed, who ran fifth. His older brother Nash rode in the race, on Descarado, though it didn't finish.
A year earlier Brad saddled up on the reigning Cup winner, Viewed, for the great Bart Cummings, finishing seventh. It came after the horse and jockey had teamed to win the Caulfield Cup two weeks earlier.
Rawiller, who also rode Phelan Ready to victory in the 2009 Golden Slipper, is currently riding at between 57kg and 59kg, which tips the scales against him for top races such as the two-mile (3200m) Melbourne Cup.
"The way it is now it's very hard," he said.
"The internationals (jockeys) come over and dominate the weights; you're left with three or four chances to get a ride.
"I've been at a disadvantage ... a combination of a few things with that (leg) injury at Caulfield a few weeks ago. I've only really been able to get back to full running now.
"I've ridden in it (the Melbourne Cup) a few times, always finished in the top eight.
"If I get my chance sometime in the future I'll be ready to go."
Until then, Rawiller will be content to be an onlooker again this year, supporting Pike, Real Love and its Perth-based owner Bob Peters, with whom he has also formed a close relationship with.
"I would love nothing more than a great result for him," he said.