Far Hills Recap: Special is Special

- -

If there was an award for the most impressive maiden winner of the year, there would be many choices. Boss Man at Queen’s Cup? Cite at Iroquois? Elucidation at Shawan? Belisarius at Monmouth Park? Add Special Relation at Far Hills.

Willie McCarthy settled the 4-year-old Irish-bred near the back of the eight-horse field and looked like he simply let go as the field exited the backside the final time. Special Relation launched like a pinball off a flipper, ripping past rivals to score by 6 3/4 lengths over Khafayya and Inverness. Owned by Bruton Street-US and trained by Jack Fisher, the 4-year-old earned his first victory in three starts since leaving Hughie Morrison’s barn in England. Special Relation completed a three-horse entry for Fisher, proving better than career maiden Motivational and first-time starter Highly Prized.

McCarthy knew the score after Special Relation finished third at Shawan Downs Sept. 29.

“I didn’t get to use him up that day flew home. The first thing I said to Jack, ‘Go to Far Hills, he’ll win the maiden there.’ He said, ‘We’ve already got horses for that, he should have won today.’ ” McCarthy said. “He called me up during the week and asked me which horse I wanted to ride. The other horse is a first-timer, really, really good horse but I’m going to go with my gut feeling, that’s what I said after Shawan and that’s what I’m going to do. He was a steering job for me.”

They’re not all steering jobs. McCarthy was injured last summer and has bounced back with a solid season this year.

“I got a fall off one of the Bruton Street horses last year, they were good to me when I got hurt, it means a lot to me to win a race for them. To come and win a race for them is very special, just to show my appreciation almost and thank them,” McCarthy said. “It’s a credit to Jack and Haddon Frost, they did a lot of schooling with the horse, he completely changed. He kept improving and improving and he’s going to continue to improve. He could be a real horse for the novice races this spring.”

Owned by Bruton Street in Britian, Special Relation won once on the flat and went 0-for-3 over hurdles, finishing third, beaten 74 lengths, in his final start at Ascot in January. 

“It was just getting the horse to like it. He went down over the hurdles with one of the twins this week, I watched it and said that’s a different horse,” McCarthy said. “I just had to do the steering. I really just let him get into the race he doesn’t want to be forced into the race, I knew I had a good horse, I knew I had the gears.”