Canberra trainer Matthew Dale will have more time than usual to devote to Fell Swoop who is his solitary runner on the weekend.
When Dale visits Melbourne, he invariably has other runners interstate, but the way things have fallen on Saturday, he can concentrate on Fell Swoop in the Group One Oakleigh Plate at Caulfield.
“We’ve got 47 in work and it’s just the way it’s panned out,” Dale said.
“We had plenty of runners last week at Goulburn and Canberra so it’s great having just one runner for the day.
“This way I can enjoy the build-up a little more.”
Fell Swoop is first-up in one of Australia’s toughest sprint handicaps as he looks to extend his winning streak to five.
After two wins in Sydney in August, Fell Swoop graduated to Listed level with successive Moonee Valley and Caulfield wins in September.
Those wins were the catalyst for him to tackle two 1100m-handicaps, Saturday’s Oakleigh Plate and The Galaxy at Rosehill on March 19.
Dale had back-up options of the Challenge Stakes at Randwick or the Bob Hoysted Handicap at Flemington next Saturday but felt the Oakleigh Plate was a better fit.
“I really wanted three weeks between his first and second runs and that’s the way these races map out,” he said.
The Oakleigh Plate is the biggest challenge Fell Swoop has faced and Dale is confident the gelding is up to the task.
“He’s got the right profile and it’s the right timing,” Dale said.
“He’s a four-year-old gelding on the way up that can still get into a race like this near the minimum.”
After a good break following his latest win at Caulfield, Dale has given Fell Swoop a long and steady build-up which has included a trial at Goulburn and an unofficial jump-out on his home track a little over two weeks ago.
While saying the preparation has been faultless, Dale believes the gelding will improve with the outing.
To be ridden by Glyn Schofield, Fell Swoop is on the fourth line of betting at $11 with three-year-olds Keen Array ($4.60) and Heatherly ($4.80) heading the market ahead of Bounding at $6.