Favourite Fell Swoop has worked well enough this week to overcome a wide barrier to win his first Group One race in the BTC Cup at Doomben.
Fell Swoop, who will again be ridden by Jay Ford after Damien Oliver was suspended again last week, drew barrier 10 in a field of 14 for the Cup on Saturday.
Opinions were divided on the merit of Fell Swoop’s first Brisbane start when he got up in the final 50m to beat Didntcostalot in the Group Two Victory Stakes two weeks ago.
But trainer Matt Dale was happy with the run, pointing out Didntcostalot was a Doomben 1200m specialist and the race time had been fast.
“Fell Swoop has pleased me since that run and he worked well on Tuesday,” Dale said.
“It was a bit different coming from the ACT weather to Queensland but he has acclimatised well.”
“Barrier ten is no help and it would have been nice to draw a bit closer. But he has tactical speed and you can’t do much about it.”
Dale will stick to the policy of asking stewards to send Fell Swoop on to the track as soon as his jockey mounts.
“He got edgy while parading at his first start and he still does it,” Dale said.
“He wasn’t bad for him at Doomben before the Victory Stakes but we will still ask for the jockey to get on and then head out to the barriers.”
Dale will not commit Fell Swoop to the Doomben 10,000 and Stradbroke Handicap until after Saturday.
“He has been up a long time and really it is a week-to-week situation. He is a young horse on the way up and we don’t want to overtax him,” Dale said.
Fell Swoop has won more than $1 million in prize money but is yet to claim a Group One race despite being placed in two elite events.
“It is obviously something we want for him but we don’t want to press on if he is over the top,” Dale said.