Champion Melbourne jockey Damien Oliver will miss the ride on the in-form Fell Swoop in the Group 2 $200,000 Victory Stakes (1200m) at Doomben on Saturday because of suspension.
Oliver 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.
The weight for age Victory Stakes has only attracted six entries and the Brisbane Racing Club are certain to be disappointed with the response as the Brisbane Winter Carnival is set to kick off.
The other five entrants for the Victory Stakes are Weetwood Handicap winner Choice Bro, the Tony Gollan pair of Didntcostalot and Fontelina, the Noel Mayfield-Smith trained Famous Seamus and Knoydart from the John O’Shea stable.
The Matt Dale trained Fell Swoop is racing in the best form of his career with two seconds and a fourth at his last three starts, all in Group 1 company.
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 has picked out the Group 1 $500,000 UBET BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben on May 14 as Fell Swoop’s first Brisbane Winter Carnival Group 1 assignment and is keen to give him a solid hit out prior.
“If he didn’t start in the Victory, he would have had to trial in between races anyway, so why not run?” Dale told The Courier-Mail.
Fell Swoop had always shown Dale that he was way above average and the Canberra trainer has no hesitation in testing him against the top grade in the Oakleigh Plate.
“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.”
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.