Rawiller released by Hong Kong ICAC
CHAMPION Australian jockey Nash Rawiller has been released from custody in Hong Kong but it is still unclear whether he will face charges from the Independent Commission Against Corruption.
The disqualified jockey left Hong Kong ICAC headquarters mid-afternoon on Friday, nearly 48 hours after he was detained at Hong Kong International Airport.
It is understood Rawiller's mother, Elaine, went into ICAC headquarters about 30 minutes before the jockey's release.
Rawiller was detained just hours after Hong Kong Jockey Club stewards banned the jockey for 15 months on Wednesday after finding him guilty of receiving gifts or money in exchange for race tips.
The ban was the longest given by the HKJC stewards since Chris Munce was suspended for 30 months and jailed over the "tips for bets" affair in 2008.
Munce then served nearly 20 months in jail after the ICAC found him guilty of taking bribes.
The HKJC said it would not comment on specifics of the Rawiller matter and the ICAC had not yet issued a media release about the case.
Meantime, a winner at Benalla on Friday for Brad Rawiller was a subdued high point in two "trying" days for the Rawiller family.
Brad Rawiller, Nash's younger brother, returned to riding at Benalla after standing down on Thursday.
He piloted Dixie Preacher to victory in race seven and took the opportunity to say his entire family, a strong racing family originally from Bendigo, was right behind Nash.
"It's been a trying last 24 hours. I want to thank everyone for their love and support," Brad told Racing.com after his win.
"We are full of love and respect for Nash and we're behind him whatever the outcome is.
"Nash is a good man, a great person and even better family man."
Rawiller could be facing a prison sentence similar to that given to Munce, who was convicted of conspiring to trade tips in return for bets in 2007 and spent a total of 19 months in jail, six in Hong Kong and 13 in Australia.
While there are similarities between the two cases, the ICAC initiated the investigation into Munce but stewards looked into the Rawiller matter.
Rawiller was found guilty by stewards for "having an interest in a bet" and for "receiving a benefit for providing tips". There is no suggestion the jockey had had bet or tipped against his own rides.
HKJC chief executive Winfried Englebrecht-Bresges told Hong Kong media that stewards used sophisticated intelligence procedures to "uncover things others can't".
"We monitor (betting) markets, both legal and illegal, in Hong Kong and around the world, and we have a dedicated team that does that,'' he said.
"We can use the data we find to be more specific in investigations and we identified this (Rawiller) as a significant case.
"The analysis we do of markets, both legal and those overseas, helped us identify a pattern. We had sufficient evidence (so) we could start the investigation."
Respected Hong Kong-based racing journalist Alan Aitken, from the South China Morning Post, told RSN on Thursday that Nash was believed to have been picked up ICAC officials at the airport as he tried to leave Hong Kong.
"Nobody's really had contact with him," Aitken said.
"But if that's the case then the ICAC has got involved and given that the jockey club has found him guilty on charges that mirror the kind of charges that Chris Munce was up against, I would think we could be looking at a very similar outcome."
Des O'Keefe, from the Australian Jockeys' Association, said no new information would come to light until Rawiller was released by the ICAC.
Rawiller has ridden 40 winners this season from 324 rides and was third behind Joao Moreira and Zac Purton in thes Hong Kong jockeys' premiership. His mounts have earned $HK58,466,990 ($A9.85 million) in prizemoney.
He hails from a well-known Bendigo racing family.
Father Keith was a jumps jockey, his brother Brad is a successful rider, and sister Stacy is also a jockey.
Brad Rawiller was replaced on five horses at Kilmore on Thursday after stewards approved his request to be removed from his rides due to personal reasons.
Nash Rawiller is best known for his association with star galloper Elvstroem, on whom he won the 2004 Caulfield Cup and the Dubai Duty Free in 2005.
Rawiller moved to Sydney in 2007 and partnered with Gai Waterhouse, riding stars such as Pierro and More Joyous.
He won three Sydney premierships - in 2009-2010, 2010-2011, 2012-2013 - and has booted home more than 50 Group 1 winners.
HKJC executive Andrew Harding said the club made no apologies for the tough ban.
"(We have an) unwavering resolve to ensure the highest standards of the integrity in Hong Kong racing," he said.
with Michael Manley