Dale Plots Melbourne Swoop

Sep 04, 2015

Source: Ben Asgari; Saturday represents something of a changing of the guard for Canberra-based trainerMatthew Dale.

Dale will saddle emerging talent Fell Swoopamong two chances at Moonee Valley and veteran sprinter Unanimously at Rosehill.

The 33-year-old horseman said it was symbolic that Fell Swoop was making his Stakes debut on the same day that his old stable star was resuming after more than a year on the sidelines.

“Fell Swoop’s our next headline horse to take over from Unanimously, who’s been a great sprinter for us over a number of seasons and funnily enough he’s by the same sire, cost exactly the same amount of money and was bought from the same sale,” Dale said.

“It’s quite funny, it certainly wasn’t planned that way but out of the 25 horses we’ve got here they also live in the box next door to each other.”

Symbolism aside, Dale appears to have a pretty serious horse on his hands in Fell Swoop, who has won six of his eight starts and is unlucky not have been unbeaten in his past seven.

Believing the horse was at least as good, if not better, than dual Stakes winner Unanimously at the same stage of their careers, Dale said he had no doubt the four-year-old was capable of measuring up in the$120,000 The Cup Club Stakes (1200m).

“He’s really learning to race this preparation. Last preparation he practically led all the way in every start whereas this time he’s been able to take a drop in all of his runs which is a big attribute as you progress up in grade,” he said.

“He can be ridden wherever we need to ride him, he’s got a great record, he’s a progressive horse that gets in on the minimum and he’s drawn a great barrier.

“I’ve got no doubt that he’s got Black-type ability, it’s just a matter of taking things one step at a time at this early stage and even though it’s a cliche, he’ll be even better next preparation.

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“We also accepted in Sydney in case we drew really poorly but once we drew a nice barrier and were able to secure Damien Oliver the decision (to come to Melbourne) was made very quickly.”

Boasting a 23 per cent wining strike-rate since he started training in 2002, Dale said he has always believed in placing his horses in the most suitable race possible, whether that be in Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney or at provincial level.

“I think it doesn’t matter how good your horses are going, if they’re in the wrong races they can’t win,” he said.

“We do take a lot of time doing the form and placing our horses, I’ve always enjoyed that side of racing.”

A $45,000 purchase that has already earned connections more than $182,000, Fell Swoop isn’t Dale’s only cheap horse to have returned his owners a significant dividend.

Earlier this year he prepared Rom Baro - who was purchased for $12,000 - to win theCanberra Guineas, before the lightly-raced son of Time Thief was sold to Hong Kong for the best part of $1 million.

Fell Swoop aside, Dale will also saddle Bring A Ring in Saturday’s $80,00 Jeep Handicap(1600m) and said the mare wasn’t without a chance.

“Two starts ago she won what would be a similar race in Sydney and last start I thought she was very sound against the boys,” he said.

“I’d like to think if she got a decent run on speed she’d be right in the thick of things.”

Bring A Ring was a rated a $26 chance with Crownbet, which had Fell Swoop priced as the $2.80 favourite.