Rawiller cuts Ryan's lead to three

BENDIGO jockey Brad Rawiller has moved to within three wins of New South Wales hoop Greg Ryan in the race for the Australian Jockey Premiership.

Rawiller rode Digital Boy to an impressive win at Bendigo on Wednesday to cut Ryan's lead to just three with three weeks remaining in the season.

Rawiller has ridden 144.5 winners for the season from 987 rides and his mounts have earned a combined total of more than $5.4 million in prizemoney.

Rawiller, who already has two national premierships to his name, leads Dean Yendall by 10.5 wins in the race for the Victorian premiership.

Digital Boy raced up on the pace for Rawiller in the Schweppes Maiden Plate (1600m).

The four-year-old relished the heavy conditions and surged clear of his rivals in the home straight to win by more than two lengths.

The victory secured Caulfield trainer Brendan McCarthy with a winning double.

In the previous event the McCarthy-trained Zambezi Diamond broke its maiden status with a strong effort over 1100m.

CLOSE FINISH: Carvalho, right, holds off Zuperb to win the First Light Racing Showcase. Pictures: BRENDAN McCARTHY

CLOSE FINISH: Carvalho, right, holds off Zuperb to win the First Light Racing Showcase. Pictures: BRENDAN McCARTHY

The most impressive win of the day came from Royal Island in the Jayco Showcase 78 Handicap (1300m).

The John Salanitri-trained galloper is quickly establishing himself as one of the premier wet trackers in Victoria.

Wednesday's three-and-a-half length win was Royal Island's fourth win from six starts on slow and heavy tracks.

It was the four-year-old's third-straight win this campaign. He's been ridden perfectly by up-and-coming apprentice Jordan Childs in all three runs.

There was some controversy before the start of race six when veteran galloper Signor Socks dislodged jockey Aaron Mitchell.

Signor Socks was scratched on vets advice.

The race was taken out by the Robbie Laing-trained Carvalho, ridden by Michelle Payne, in a tight finish from Zuperb.

Well-backed favourite Hill Spy finished a close-up fourth.

STOP HIM: Signor Socks takes off before the start of race seven.

STOP HIM: Signor Socks takes off before the start of race seven.

Meanwhile, Cranbourne trainer Robbie Griffiths scored his 100th win of the season when Zadon demolished its rivals in the 3YO Maiden Plate (1400m).

The son of champion sire Zabeel outclassed his rivals, winning by more than four lengths with Ben Melham in the saddle.

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