Fell Swoop Oakleigh Plate

Feb 26, 2016

CANBERRA trainer Matthew Dale enters Saturday’s Oakleigh Plate knowing his sprinter Fell Swoop is facing his acid test, but with the knowledge his horse is “a winner”.

Eight wins from 10 starts, is testimony to this quality and Dale said he had no choice but to aim him at feature races.

“It’s the deep end. I’ve placed him conservatively but now is the time. He’s now a 100 rater and he can sneak into these races with a lightweight still,” Dale said.

“He’s a winner and that is a real advantage for him. Horses which keep winning shouldn’t be underestimated.”

Dale said he will know a lot more about where Fell Swoop sits in the sprinting ranks after he contests the two sprints he set him for six months ago, the Oakleigh Plate and Galaxy Stakes in three weeks time.

“After that we can go forward or drop him back in class,” he said.

    Dale said Fell Swoop was “a raw product” last time in work but is a better version this time in.

    “At home he’s more settled. He’s more furnished and muscled up and mentally he’s also more positive,” he said.

    Dale took a lot of confidence from Fell Swoops’s last two starts where he won at Moonee Valley and at Caulfield after looking beaten in the run each time.

    Matthew Dale says Fell Swoop has done plenty of work in the anticlockwise direction in preparation for Saturday’s assignment. Picture: Jenny Evans

    “Neither of those races were run to suit as they walked. He’ll be much happier with the speed on in an Oakleigh Plate,” he said.

    “He was vulnerable in both as he never really balanced up. At Caulfield he was also three wide throughout and he was also unsettled as he was reshod at the barrier. He was there to beaten

    over the last 200m but he was really strong.”

    Dale said Fell Swoop had done a lot more the Melbourne way of going in the lead-up to this sprint.

    He said Fell Swoop had a soft trial at Gouburn with ear muffs on and then had a jump-out with trainer Nick Olive’s Magic Millions Guineas runner-up Single Gaze at Canberra.

    Dale had a runner in the Oakleigh Plate, which was Unanimously in 2013 who finished fifth behind Mrs Onassis beaten only two lengths after racing wide.

    “Fell Swoop is coming at a much better stage of career as opposed to Unanimously,” he said.

    “He’ll need luck. It’s a nice enough barrier. He’s been around Caulfield which is also an advantage,” he said.