Poignant win for Rawiller as memories of Elvstroem flood back with Hero

Jockey Nash Rawiller took riding honours at Sha Tin’s Easter Monday meeting (2 April) with a treble, but it was the final pin of his three-timer aboard the Richard Gibson-trained Harmony Hero in the Class 3 Primula Handicap (1400m) that may have held the most significance.

Rawiller brought Harmony Hero with a well-timed run down the centre of the Sha Tin track, with the Elvstroem three-year-old taking the final event by a length and a half at his second Hong Kong start. Notably, it came 13 years to the week since the Australian hoop partnered Elvstroem to a historic victory in the G1 Dubai Duty Free (1777m) – now the Dubai Turf – at the Dubai World Cup meeting.

“It meant a lot,” Rawiller said. “Obviously, Elvstroem is a horse that is very special to me and to be associated with a son of his with this much talent, it is exciting for sure.”

Harmony Hero had big wraps on him from the moment he arrived from Australia. A winner of two from two down under, including a big-margin score over G1 Caulfield Guineas victor Mighty Boss, he had finished fifth at his first start in his new home.

“This horse, from day one in Australia, has shown that he was a good horse,” Gibson said. “They were very reluctant to sell us the horse, he was always thought of very highly, and since he has come to Hong Kong, he has shown us a lot of ability. It was a good effort from the horse and I look forward to seeing where he takes us.”

For Rawiller, start two was more about a learning curve for Harmony Hero with next year’s Four-Year-Old Classic Series already a long-term goal.

“Richard’s kept a bit in the locker and I think he’s still on the way up, he’s not right there yet,” the rider said. “He’s quirky, he’s not straightforward and he’s still learning. I just gave him time, the fast pace was obviously a test for him but he passed it with flying colours. Today was all about where he will be three months from now, a year from now – he’s going somewhere from what he showed today.”

Gibson added: “We always thought that we would give him an easy season. We’ve still got plenty of time. This is a horse that you wouldn’t want to be running when it gets too hot, so I would guess one or two more starts this season and then we will put him away.”



Stable Stars