Jay Ford has picked up the plum ride on Fell Swoop in Group 2 $200,000 Victory Stakes (1200m) at Doomben on Saturday, replacing the suspended Damien Oliver.
Oliver had been an early Victory Stakes booking for the Matt Dale trained Fell Swoop but the Melbourne Cup winning jockey fell foul of stewards at Flemington on Monday.
The champion jockey pleaded guilty to a charge of careless riding when he allowed his mount Joueur to shift in at the 100m mark in the straight the first time in the Listed $200,000 VRC St Leger (2800m) at Flemington on Monday.
Racing Victoria stewards outed Oliver from midnight April 27 until midnight May 2, forcing him to miss the ride of the Canberra sprinter in the Victory Stakes.
Fell Swoop was one of the original six entries for the Victory Stakes whose numbers were boosted to ten when four more gallopers were added to the nominations after the Brisbane Racing Club extended the deadline to Tuesday morning.
The Canberra trained sprinter will kick off his Brisbane Winter Carnival campaign on the back of some very good Group 1 Autumn Carnival form.
Fell Swoop with Glyn Schofield in the saddle was beaten a nose by Flamberge when second in the Group 1 $500,000 Clamms Seafood Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on February 27 then ran fourth to Griante for Brenton Avdulla in the Group 1 $700,000 Banjo Galaxy (1100m) at Rosehill on March 19.
Then at his latest outing with Zac Purton aboard, Fell Swoop ran second to Chautauqua in the Group 1 $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on the day one of ‘The Championships’ on April 2.
Dale said that Fell Swoop had always given him the indication that he would be competitive at Group 1 level and wasn’t surprised to see him figure in the placings in the Oakleigh Plate and in the T J Smith Stakes.
“I always had faith he could go to this level,” Dale said.
“He was doing a bit wrong and still winning those races. That’s the sign of a real competitor.
“Because of that I was able to throw him straight into the Oakleigh Plate first-up and he measured up. Then in the T.J. it was pretty exciting to run second to a horse (Chautauqua) rated the best sprinter in the world.”
After Saturday Fell Swoop will head towards his first Brisbane Winter Group 1 assignment, the Group 1 $500,000 UBET BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben on May 14.
The Group 1 $750,000 James Boag’s Premium Doomben 10000 (1350m) at Doomben on May 28 is also on the radar for Fell Swoop and the four year old is well in the betting at Ladbrokes.com.au at $13 for the Group 1 $2m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 11.
The Ciaron Maher trained Azkadellia is at the top of the Stradbroke Handicap market order at $4.80 just ahead of Malaguerra at $5 and Black Heart Bart and English both at $7.
Early Stradbroke Handicap market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4.80 Azkadellia, $5 Malaguerra, $7 Black Heart Bart, English, $11 Music Magnate, Xtravagant, $13 Counterattack, Fell Swoop, Le Romain, $15 Ghisoni, $17 Artlee, Charlie Boy, Delectation, Good Project.