Canberra sprinter Fell Swoop has drawn out wide in the second half of the field in barrier ten in the Group 1 $500,000 BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben on Saturday.
Fourteen horses accepted for the first Group 1 of the 2016 Brisbane Winter Carnival with champion Sydney trainer Chris Waller supplying three of them, Delectation, Japonisme and Counterattack.
The Mat Dale trained Fell Swoop made a triumphant Winter Carnival debut with a win in the Group 2 $200,000 National Fire Industry Association QLD Victory Stakes (1200m) at Doomben on April 30 and winning jockey Jay Ford said that the four year old can only improve on his latest effort.
“Fell Swoop is certainly a worthy contender (in a Group 1). And the beauty of him is he is still lightly-raced and he is only going to get better,” Ford, who rides Fell Swoop in the BTC Cup, told The Courier-Mail.
“I think he is a bit untapped and has a lot of improvement in him.’’
Dale was glad and relieved that Fell Swoop was able to win the Victory Stakes following his long road trip from a cool Canberra to a warm Queensland climate.
“To be honest, I thought he would be very vulnerable that day in the Victory Stakes,’’ Dale said.
“He had to travel eighteen hours from a cool Canberra climate to a very muggy week in Brisbane, and it was his first run around Doomben which can be a pretty tricky course.
“I know he only won by half a length or so but I thought it was a super win. He has bounced off that well.”
Fell Swoop’s Autumn Carnival form was first class and he showed that a Group 1 victory wasn’t far off with a nose second to Flamberge in the Group 1 $500,000 Clamms Seafood Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on February 27.
The four year old then ran fourth to Griante in the Group 1 $700,000 Banjo Galaxy (1100m) at Rosehill on March 19 before running second to the world’s best sprinter, Chautauqua, in the Group 1 $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on the first day of ‘The Championships’ on April 2.
Japonisme has drawn the best of the Waller runners at barrier three with Glyn Schofield returning to the saddle after the pair combined for a win in the Group 1 $500,000 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington during the 2015 Melbourne Spring Carnival and a third in the Group 1 $750,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington during this year’s Autumn Carnival.
Sam Clipperton takes over from Craig Williams on Counterattack who has drawn barrier eleven and Jason Collett is looking for his first Group 1 win on Delectation who has also drawn awkwardly at gate twelve.
The Lee and Anthony Freedman trained Malaguerra has drawn midfield at eight with local jockey Glen Colless to ride while Darren Weir’s Group 1 winner Stratum Star has drawn one from the outside at thirteen with Brad Rawiller in the saddle.
Gai Waterhouse’s mare Echo Gal has drawn well at two for Tegan Harrison while dual Group 1 winning Kiwi sprinter Sacred Star will jump from barrier seven with Brisbane’s leading jockey Jim Byrne to ride.
Father and son co-trainers Peter and Paul Snowden will saddle up two runners with Dothraki drawing the rails and Charlie Boy getting the six marble.
Fell Swoop has maintained his spot at the top of the BTC Cup market order at Ladbrokes.com.au at $4.20 just ahead of Japonisme at $4.40 and Malaguerra at $6.
BTC Cup market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4.20 Fell Swoop, $4.40 Japonisme, $6 Malaguerra, $8 Counterattack, $9 Artlee, $13 Delectation, Dothraki, $15 Target In Sight, $17 Charlie Boy, $26 Scared Star, $34 Two Blue, $41 Echo Gal, Stratum Star, $101 Liberation.