Trainer Matt Dale is eyeing two Melbourne races for Fell Swoop ahead of a possible Kosciuszko start.
Canberra trainer Matthew Dale has the $1.3 million Kosciuszko at Randwick in his sights with stable stalwart Fell Swoop who will begin his campaign in Melbourne.
Fell Swoop, a multiple stakes winner and multiple Group One placegetter, is scheduled to kick off in the Listed Chandler Macleod Stakes (1200m) at The Valley on September 7.
Dale has also pencilled in the Listed Testa Rossa Stakes at Caulfield on September 29, with The Kosciuszko (1200m) on October 19.
“That’s our plan for him at this stage and I’m really happy with him,” Dale said.
“All the indicators are that he is coming up every bit as good or better than last preparation and last preparation he won a Listed race at Randwick and was narrowly beaten in a Group Two in Melbourne behind Whispering Brook.
“He was also only beaten a bit under two lengths in the Group One William Reid.
“He has come up well and he trialled nicely on Tuesday at Rosehill which was just what I wanted to see from him.
“He’s sound and fresh in the mind. Even though he’s eight, he’s carrying on like a young horse.”
The Kosciuszko is restricted to NSW country or ACT-trained horses, and Dale believes Fell Swoop has the right credentials to be picked up by one of the 14 people who win a slot in the race.
“You never know until you’re picked but he would be one of the top four horses naturally to select. So I’d imagine people would be mad not to pick him up,” he said.
“It’s a track and distance that he won a Listed race over last preparation (Razor Sharp). But he has also placed in two TJ Smiths. So he’d be very hard to beat, you’d imagine, in a race like that.”
Dale believes the timing of the two races in Melbourne fit in perfectly with his plans for Fell Swoop’s program.
“It’s a nice balanced approach to his preparation, and also you’re dodging the main lead-ups to The Everest in Sydney which effectively are like Group One races because the majority are following the same lead-up,” he said.
“He goes well in Melbourne. They’re the right timelines, being three weeks and then three weeks.
“So at this stage that’s his program.”