New ter­ri­tory for Fell Swoop

NT News - - SPORT - CHRIS BARCLAY

FELL Swoop is headed for un­charted ter­ri­tory as Matt Dale makes an­other at­tempt to coax the dual TJ Smith Stakes placeget­ter from a form slump.

A per­ma­nent move to the Can­berra trainer’s satel­lite sta­ble at Moruya over au­tumn is yet to pay div­i­dends for the sixyear-old, who has not won for al­most two years.

Fell Swoop was run­ner-up and third to Chau­tauqua in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) in 2016 and 2017 re­spec­tively, but fin­ished eighth in the lat­est edi­tion on April 7.

Af­ter over-rac­ing dur­ing the race, Fell Swoop was checked at the 800m be­fore fin­ish­ing eight lengths be­hind the win­ner Trapeze Artist.

Af­ter talk­ing to his jockey Jay Ford, who sug­gested Fell Swoop seemed to be look­ing for fur­ther, Dale nom­i­nated the geld­ing for Satur­day’s Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Rand­wick.

“We have had it in our minds on pre­vi­ous oc­ca­sions. Now is def­i­nitely the time to try it,” Dale said. “He’s show­ing signs that he’s rac­ing more like a 1400-me­tre horse.”

Fell Swoop has gone close to 1400m on one oc­ca­sion when sixth in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) in May, 2016. “They went ridicu­lously quick that day so it wasn’t a real good in­di­ca­tor even though he was only beaten two-and-a-half lengths,” Dale said.

He was not sur­prised by Fell Swoop’s TJ Smith Stakes ef­fort given his re­cent record.

“We were un­der no il­lu­sions. We knew go­ing into the race he wasn’t go­ing as well as the pre­vi­ous two years and he got a firm track, not a soft,” Dale said.

Fell Swoop’s last win came in the Group 2 Vic­tory Stakes (1200m) at Doomben on April 30, 2016.

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