Equal favourite Fell Swoop will be having his first look at the Flemington straight on Saturday when he lines up in the Group 1 $1m Darley Classic (1200m) but trainer Matt Dale expects his stable star to handle it okay.
Fell Swoop is yet to win at Group 1 level but has been placed three times including a last start second to Rebel Dane in the Group 1 $1m Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 21 but will facing proven Flemington straight winners Lankan Rupee, The Quarterback, Japonisme, Malaguerra, Spieth and Sheidel.
“I think the straight will suit him, albeit he’s never seen it and there’s always that question mark on it going there for the first time,” Dale told AAP.
“But he’s the sort of horse who likes to be balanced and keep in a good rhythm and a lot of the jockeys who have ridden him also believe he will be suited up the straight.”
“His Manikato Stakes run last start was there for everyone to see. He didn’t get the perfect run, the speed map got thrown out pretty quickly, and he’s only gone down narrowly.”
Fell Swoop ran second to high class sprinter Chautauqua in the Group 1 $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick during the Sydney Autumn Carnival and Dale is keen to chase that race again next year and will use Saturday’s Darley Classic as a guide to see if he returns to Flemington in the early Autumn beforehand.
If Fell Swoop can handle the run down the Flemington straight on Saturday, the five year old could return for the Group 1 $750,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) and the Group 1 $1.25m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) in February and early March.
Fell Swoop has drawn barrier three with Hugh Bowman getting the ride again in the Darley Classic after being on his back in the Manikato Stakes as well as his previous starts when third to Star Turn in the Group 2 $400,000 Mitsubishi Electric Schillaci Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on October 8.
Feel Swoop is sharing favouritism for the Darley Classic at $6 with the Team Hawkes trained Our Boy Malachi at Ldbtrokes.co.au with Newmarket Handicap winner The Quarterback on the third line of betting at $6.50 in a wide open market.