Group One performer Fell Swoop will take no further part in the Brisbane carnival with Canberra trainer Matt Dale turning his attention some of his up-and-coming stablemates.
Hay Now has been challenged to transfer her country form to the city as the ultra-consistent mare continues to weave through the grades.
The four-year-old makes her Rosehill debut on Saturday, where she will attempt to extend an impressive record of never finishing worse than second.
Hay Now has three wins and five second placings on her record and is unbeaten in this preparation ahead of the Highway Plate (1500m).
“She’s a mare in good form,” Dale said,
“She hasn’t shown us any brilliance. She’s a progressive type of mare, who’s very big and very honest. Solid, tradesman-like.”
Five-time Group One placegetter Fell Swoop has been sent to the paddock after pulling ligaments during the Saturday’s Group One Doomben 10,000 in which he finished ninth.
“It’s nothing major but we wanted to err on the side of caution,” Dale said.
Dale said Fell Swoop would be prepared for a return to racing in September.
The trainer is ever patient with Fell Swoop and also Hay Now who was second on debut at Canberra in April last year and has had her next seven runs well spaced.
She has won her past two starts and in her previous preparation she was denied two more wins by a head and a half head.
“She’s come back a bit more mature and seasoned this preparation,” Dale said.
“She certainly deserves a crack in a Highway race, that’s for sure.”
Saturday will be the first time the mare has gone beyond 1400 metres, but Dale thinks she can handle it.
“We keep raising the bar a little and she keeps jumping it. That’s the way we’ll progress,” he said.