Canberra sprinter Fell Swoop has already produced career-best results for Matthew Dale, but the trainer believes the horse can reach another level.
Fell Swoop is set to run in the Group Two Schillaci Stakes on Saturday as he kicks off a light spring preparation.
The five-year-old is a dual Group One placegetter including a second behind Chautauqua in the TJ Smith Stakes in April.
“He was very lightly raced as a young horse and I felt that he was still quite a immature in the autumn,” Dale said.
He said spending the winter racing and spelling in Brisbane had seasoned Fell Swoop.
“I’d like to think there’s good improvement now but I think there’s further improvement into the autumn,” Dale said.
With the Schillaci the last of 10 races at Caulfield, Dale will wait until Saturday to make final decisions on tactics.
“We won’t over-think it. But I am looking to ride him a little bit more conservatively with the earmuffs on,” Dale said.
Hugh Bowman rode Fell Swoop in both his trials with the purpose of building a relationship between horse and jockey ahead of the race.
Standing in their way is three-year-old colt Star Turn, the $2.70 favourite to repeat the heroics of Moir Stakes winner Extreme Choice and beat the older horses at weight-for-age.
Fell Swoop is next pick at $6.50.
Flamberge, Peter Moody’s final Group One winner before the trainer’s suspension and subsequent retirement, is $8 to win his first start for Darren Weir.
Fell Swoop was first-up when defeated by Flamberge in the Oakleigh Plate in February after he struggled for clear running in the straight and flashed home to finish second by a half-head.
“He’s coming up with a very similar preparation and lead-up to how we produced him first-up last time in the Oakleigh Plate,” Dale said.
“He’s really pleasing me at home so looking forward to Saturday.”
Three-time Group One winner Turn Me Loose also resumes in the Schillaci, along with BTC Cup winner Malaguerra who is having his first start since his shock move to the Peter Gelagotis’ stable.
The Chris Waller-trained Japonisme has been disappointing at two starts in Sydney this preparation but comes into the race off a winning trial at Randwick on September 30.