Rank outsider Queen Esther led the field at the first turn, jumping brilliantly from box three, with Rue De Kahn in a handy third position. Turning into the back straight, the daughter of Where’s Pedro and Shelbourne Dawn, quickly moved in second spot, before charging away in the home straight to score by four and three quarter lengths in a blistering time of 29.49. As a nervous Swain watched on intently from behind the boxes, the son of astute trainer Syd Swain was quietly confident of his chances, once his chaser got into the clear.
“Once she got through the first turn in a good position, I just went really quiet and thought please do the right thing. She has incredible track sense and once they jumped and she knew she couldn’t go a certain way she changed her run. As she got closer to the leader I thought hang on, she is going to win the futurity. It was a surreal feeling and I couldn’t contain myself behind the boxes.”
“It honestly didn’t surprise me she ran that time, I certainly knew she could run that fast if she got a chance.”
There is plenty of hard work that occurs behind the scenes at the Swain kennels, with Dean’s father and mentor Syd Swain, who won the National Derby two years ago with Sure As, providing plenty of support and advice for the young trainer, along with wife Danielle.
“I definitely couldn’t do it without her. When I’m working, she feeds the dogs and looks after them and she was crying on Friday night, it was a real team effort.”
Swain is a builder by day and stated it was a good distraction leading up to the final.
“I was nervous the whole week so it was good that work could make me focus on something else. I definitely didn’t feel like going back on Monday after I won, but it does make it easier to get out of bed.”
Amazingly, Friday night’s victory was just Rue De Kahn’s fourth of her career from seven starts. She now has an astonishing $78,650 in prize money next to her name for owner Michael Laffey.
“It was Michael’s first Group One win as well and I’m so happy for him. He puts so much money into the sport and I’m very lucky to be training this bitch for him.”
Rue De Kahn’s next assignment is a 5th grade race at Wentworth Park on Saturday night from box eight, with this Group One winner no longer an outsider.