Kiwi three-year-old Special Swey has bolstered Chris Waller’s Queensland arsenal, making an instant impact for the Champion trainer when scoring a game victory in Saturday’s Gr.3 Rough Habit Plate (2000m).
A tactical mid-race move by apprentice Tyler Schiller to roll forward proved a masterstroke as Special Swey forced his rivals to chase from a long way out and none were up to the challenge, with the gelding going on to score by a length and a half from favourite The Vowels.
A son of Sweynesse, Special Swey was a dominant last-start Matamata winner for trainer Stephen Ralph, and was transferred to Waller by long-time supporter Tony Muollo.
"I've only had the horse about ten days,” Waller said.
“A great friend of mine Tony Muollo owns the horse, his brother Luigi bred the horse so it's a good little story. Tony has been a great supporter of mine, he picked the horse out and said 'I think we should take this horse to Queensland.' Full credit to Tony."
With initial favourite Kovalica scratched on race morning with a foot abscess, Waller turned to stablemates Yasuke ($19) and Special Swey ($26) and he was pleased to see the Kiwi import get the job done.
"He won his maiden quite well at Matamata,” Waller said.
“He did a bit of work on that occasion and he was ridden similar to how he was ridden today. Tyler (Schiller) obviously did his homework. It was good to watch.
"Tyler made a bold move, he went from probably the 900m or the 800m. You put your neck on the chopping block because trainers aren't always that forgiving. He nailed it, he's obviously very smart. He knew how slow they were going and decided 'let's go'.”
While Waller admitted Ocean Park gelding Kovalica was still his number one seed for the Gr.1 Queensland Derby (2400m), he was delighted to have an able back-up.
"He's still behind Kovalica, but if there's a chink in Kovalica's armour he'll run a strong 2400m. He’s certainly number two but he's putting his head up and saying 'I might enjoy this Queensland life’."
Bred by Luigi Muollo of Novara Park under his Explosive Breeding Ltd banner, Special Swey is by Group One performed Lonhro stallion Sweynesse, sire of six stakes winners to date including the world’s top-rated sprinter Lucky Sweynesse.
Out of the three-win Per Incanto mare Mia Mamma, Special Swey was offered at the New Zealand Bloodstock Ready To Run Sale via Ohukia Lodge, but failed to meet his $50,000 reserve.
A winner and twice placed from seven starts in New Zealand, Special Swey earned A$145,000 for his winning efforts on Saturday.