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Every jockey around the world has that extra special horse they rode throughout their career.
The horse could have delivered the hoop their biggest win or just that specific galloper has a significant place in their heart.
Legend jockey Glen Boss had Makybe Diva, Luke Nolen with Black Caviar and most recently, Hugh Bowman with Winx.
On a smaller scale and hidden away on a Wednesday provincial meeting from Townsville, north Queensland apprentice rider Krysten Swaffer is building that type of relationship those famous jockeys had with their gun horses, with Tabatha Miss.
While a Class 6 Handicap from Cluden Park is not a Group 1, the partnership between the four-year-old bay filly and the emerging hoop is immense.
The 22-year-old Swaffer is five from five on the daughter of Magic Albert and is the only hoop to win on Tabatha Miss in her 17-start career.
She has picked up wins with Tabatha Miss at Townsville on three occasions as well as Innisfail and Cairns.
Other jockeys have been able to get John Manzelmann’s mare into the money on race day, running in the top three on seven occasions, but Swaffer has a special touch – winning her last three now since November.
“She definitely is special to me,” Swaffer said.
“I always get a good feel out of her, she always gives 100 per cent and is a tough little mare.
“Something may try run her down, but she never gives up, she just keeps plugging away.
“She keeps trying and that is what I love about her.”
Townsville | Townsville Turf Club | 5:08 PM
Swaffer jumped well from barrier seven on Wednesday afternoon and was able to sit just behind leader Which Lily and finish over the top in the final few strides over 1000m.
One of the key elements of Swaffer’s success on the winner of over $150,000 in prizemoney, aided by several QTIS bonuses, is that she rarely uses the whip, sticking to the hands and heels method.
The Cairns local has been riding in races since 2020 and is not a big user of the whip on the track, suggesting she may look to use it more often in the future, but not on Tabatha Miss.
“I think we just click,” Swaffer said.
“I never pull the whip on her, I do not think she is a horse that using the whip will bring much more out of her because the way she is – she likes to do her own thing.
“That has worked well for us so far.
“There are some horses you just click with and for me, that is her.”
Apprenticed to Trevor Rowe at Cannon Park in FNQ, Swaffer is working to outride her claim, as she is down to two kilograms in the bush.