Fell Swoop wins the Chandler Macleod Stakes at The Valley in 2015

Dale ready to swoop on Australia Stakes

2019 will be Fell Swoop’s fifth year of racing, yet for his countless kilometres of travelling from the nation’s capital, Friday night’s Group 2 Mortimer Petroleum Australia Stakes will be just the seven-year-old’s third trip to The Valley.

It’s a reacquaintance his Canberra-based trainer Matthew Dale has been waiting for, given at his only two starts at The Valley the grand sprinter has won the Chandler Macleod Stakes prior to his nail-biting defeat to Rebel Dane in the 2016 Manikato Stakes.

“It’s been a target race for him given he runs so well at The Valley.

“The Manikato still hurts a bit, but so do a few races along the way - he’s had a few close calls”.

Fell Swoop has competed in 12 Group 1 events and been beaten under two lengths on seven occasions – five times in the placings. His recent win in the Razor Sharp Handicap broke a winning drought dating back to April 2016 and has convinced his trainer he’s up to the challenge.

For 37-year-old Dale, Fell Swoop is the horse dreams are made of for a trainer. Purchased for $45,000 in 2013, the son of Not A Single Doubt has gone on to amass $1.9 million in prizemoney and put Dale’s name on the map… literally. Fell Swoop has raced in four separate states and, at the age of seven, shows no signs of slowing down, progressing into his Autumn campaign.

“It’s hard to believe because of his age, but this preparation he has matured quite a bit because previously he was just running off nervous energy”.

Dale says Fell Swoop is, unsurprisingly by now, an excellent traveller and will make the pilgrimage on Wednesday night with many of his loyal owners from Australia-wide set to follow him to The Valley.

With Friday’s $200,000 feature drawing four Group 1 winners in Brave Smash, Redkirk Warrior, Malaguerra and Land of Plenty, Dale isn’t underestimating the task ahead.

“It could almost be a Group 1 race but I’ve never had him looking any better and Kerrin McEvoy is riding on Friday night and being a free striding horse, he’ll be rolling forward – I couldn’t be happier with him”.

The Mortimer Petroleum Australia Stakes will be run at 9.30pm tonight.