Canberra trainer Matt Dale is looking forward to his smart sprinter Fell Swoop breaking through for his maiden Group 1 win during the Autumn Carnival and is hoping to go one better in this this year’s Group 1 $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 1, the first day of ‘The Championships’.
Fell Swoop ran a courageous race last year when second to the world’s highest rated sprinter Chautauqua in the T J Smith Stakes, one of four Group 1 placings for the five year old during 2016.
“He’s done a sensational job and we’re just mapping out a program for him to ultimately end up third-up into the TJ (Smith) again this year,” Dale told Racing.com.
“It’s an amazing record without winning one, you can’t have gone much better than he did.”
“He’s on track to have an official trial in 16 days time in Canberra and then be first-up in either the Lightning or the Oakleigh Plate.”
Fell Swoop was beaten a nose by Flamberge in the 2016 Group 1 $500,000 Clamms Seafood Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield in February and could be there again this year on February 25 although Dale is also considering the Group 1 $750,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington on February 18 as the gelding’s first up Autumn Carnival run.
Fell Swoop was also denied a Group 1 win during the 2016 Melbourne Spring Carnival with a short head second to Rebel Dane in the Group 1 $1m Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley and a third behind Malaguerra and Spieth in the Group 1 $1m Darley Classic (1200m) down the Flemington straight and Dale said that his stable star doesn’t have to improve to claim his first Group 1 trophy.
“It’s not about that he has to improve, it’s just that he needs things to go the right way,” Dale said.
“Obviously in the Darley, he didn’t get any cover and anyone that was there (Flemington) that day will understand there was a headwind – probably the biggest headwind you’d run into – so without cover, his run was sensational.
“In the Oakleigh Plate he got held up for a fair period of time and just got beaten so he’s been a little unlucky in a couple of those Group 1s.
“They don’t give them away so we’re just going to set him down that path again and hope to find a race where everything suits and gels.”
“But he’s been so competitive in those Group 1s over the last 12 months and there is no reason to shy away.”
Even though Fell Swoop’s has an excellent Group 1 record, he is still marked at $31 at Ladbrokes.com.au in early betting for the T J Smith Stakes.
The Team Hawkes trained Chautauqua sits at the top of the market order at $5 ahead of the Golden Rose winner Astern and the Darley Classic runner up Spieth at $7 and Mick Price’s two dynamic three year olds Flying Artie at $9 and Extreme Choice at $10.
Early market order for the T J Smith Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au: $5 Chautauqua, $7 Astern, Spieth, $9 Flying Artie, $10 Extreme Choice, $12 Star Turn, $13 Black Heart Bart, $14 English, $15 Malaguerra, $16 Russian Revolution, $17 Terravista, Music Magnate $21 Counterattack, Japonisme, Lucky Hussler, Southern Legend, Takedown, $26 or better the rest.