Champion trainer Chris Waller says Ronnie Stewart’s international exposure along with his unflappable attitude makes him the perfect man to ride Subpoenaed in Saturday’s Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap.
The pair combined with Selino to win the Sydney Cup in April after Waller plucked the Brisbane-based hoop from relative obscurity to be a lightweight rider in the Group 1 handicap, now they are looking for lightning to strike twice.
Waller remembers Stewart coming through the riding ranks as an apprentice in Sydney around the same time he was growing in size as a trainer.
Stewart then went off to ride in Singapore, Macau and Mauritius and it is that experience Waller says has given him a cool head in tricky situations.
Subpoenaed has been allotted 51 kgs in the Stradbroke, Waller has again turned to Stewart as they look to orchestrate another Group 1 coup.
“The reason we put him on in the Sydney Cup is when he was an apprentice in Sydney, he rode against some really good jockeys,” Waller explained.
“He went to Singapore and held his own there and rode with respect, that international experience plus the maturity they get from that does them the world of good.
Ronnie Stewart salutes after winning the Sydney Cup aboard Selino. Picture: Mark Evans – Getty Images.Source:Getty Images
“We have been using him a little bit since he has been back. To have a lightweight rider in those big races that can think clearly I think is a big advantage, it proved to be when he won the Sydney Cup.”
While some owners turn their nose up at the prospect of having an unfashionable jockey riding their horse in a Group 1 race, Waller said it was an easy sell getting Stewart aboard.
Renowned for his ability to be a strong rider at the light weight, Waller had no problems convincing owners to get Stewart aboard in the $1.5m feature.
“It wasn’t a hard sell, when he’s at the level he is at it’s really quite easy,” Waller said.
“That Sydney Cup win was good enough for his confidence and owners confidence to be able to say this bloke can ride Group 1 winners at light weights so let’s give him a chance.
“That was exactly my spiel to the owners of Subpoenaed, I said he has already ridden a Group 1 winner for us – one of the biggest stables – and he coped with the pressure of that so he can do the job.”
Waller is looking to land the first Stradbroke Handicap of his career on Saturday where he will saddle up a three-pronged attack with both Imaging and Madam Rogue expected to join Subpoenaed.
Subpoenaed is currently rated a $17 chance with TAB while Imaging is $15 and Madam Rouge $26.
Originally published asWaller and Stewart stalk second Group 1 coup
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