Fell Swoop Sharper For 2016 Darley TJ Smith Stakes
Canberra trainer Matt Dale is under no illusion about the task facing Fell Swoop in Saturday’s 2016 Darley TJ Smith Stakes, but is “happy to roll the dice”.
Dale says everything is in order with Fell Swoop who will meet the nation’s top sprinters.
“We are going up from a handicap Group 1 to a weight-for age Group 1 in the TJ Smith and we know how big-a-step that is,” Dale says.
“But Fell Swoop is in form and he is up to 1200m and third-up the timing is right. And Randwick is as close to our backyard as we will get now.
“He obviously ran out of his skin in the Oakleigh Plate — and second-up at the same distance in The Galaxy I thought he didn’t have the same zip.
“He was probably ridden a bit more aggressively early in The Galaxy.
“He jumped and was given a good dig but was obviously going to be posted wide. He had to be dragged back and he pulled for a number of strides.
“I think those two things combined just took the edge off him and he may have finished closer than 1.5L if everything had planned out for him.”
Dale is unlikely to get a start with Hermosa Beachin Saturday’s The Country Championship Final — with two scratching required.
“We have obviously watched the horses progressing through The Country Championships qualifiers and I think Lofty’s Menu will be awfully hard to beat,” Dale says.
“He seems to cover all bases – he can handle all track conditions and is a seasoned tough gelding.
“Clearly Innocent is a deserved favourite and people love an up-and-comer, but he is drawn-in, and Lofty’s Menu who is a low-fuss gelding going very well."