By Ray Hickson
Outstanding sprinter Fell Swoop has taken the first step towards scaling The Everest in his stride with trainer Matthew Dale rapt in his first trial at Randwick on Monday.
Fell Swoop, who will contest the $10m The Everest for slot holders Inglis, finished third behind the flying Nieta in a 740m heat with jockey Tye Angland barely moving a muscle.
‘’It was just what I wanted to see,’’ Dale said.
‘’He trialled every bit as good as he ever has, it was good to see him back in a competitive environment and do exactly what I wanted.’’
Fell Swoop is scheduled to trial again at Rosehill in two weeks over 900m before resuming in the Group 3 $200,000 The Shorts (1100m) at Randwick on September 16.
‘’I don’t ask him to over trial, we idle through our work and that will top him off nicely and he’ll be ready to run first-up,’’ Dale said.
‘’He has to clean up in the coat a bit which is understandable as we’ve had a very cold winter in Canberra but he’s well within himself and I’m happy with where his fitness is at.’’
Dale is using a similar preparation with Fell Swoop that has taken the six-year-old to placings in the last two runnings of the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes.
In 2016 he was runner-up to Chautauqua while this year he filled third place, both coming third-up from a spell.
‘’I’m looking at it in a similar way to the way to how we’ve targeted the TJ Smith in previous years,’’ Dale said.
‘’It’s as good a blueprint as you can find and having him ready third-up at Randwick over 1200m is the way I’m approaching it.
‘’At this stage everything is on track in line with that preparation.’’
Most, if not all, Australia’s best sprinters are being spoken about as potential Everest runners for the remaining slot holders and Dale said that will make the lead up races strong ones.
And knowing there’s an attractive second chance option on Everest Day, October 14, in the $500,000 City Tattersall’s Lightning (1200m) is only acting to strengthen the path to the most talked about race of the spring.
‘’It was a very smart move by Racing NSW to put the consolation race there, so that allows every horse to aim up towards the Everest and there’s a beautiful fall back,’’ he said.
‘’I think you’ll see all of Australia’s best sprinters target similar lead up races.’’
Meanwhile, Dale will be eyeing his 10th Highway Handicap win when lightly raced three-year-old Mossman Gorge lines up in the 1100m at Rosehill on Saturday.
Mossman Gorge was an easy first-up winner at Kembla Grange on August 10 and Dale said he’s continuing to improve with race experience.
The gelding was thought of highly enough to contest the Black Opal in March following a closing third behind Gunnison and Acqume in the major lead-up event to the Group 3 feature.
‘’He won well first-up at Kembla and (the Highway) a logical option and three weeks later there’s another Highway,’’ Dale said.
‘’He’s still learning, even at Kembla he rolled around a bit to find his action and gears. He lengthened nicely late and he’ll take benefit from that win.
‘’He’s a nice progressive horse and he’ll be competitive come Saturday.’’