Canberra trainer Matthew Dale says TJ Smith Stakes still on Fell Swoop's radar

Trainer Matt Dale guides Everest runner Fell Swoop in the Moruya river on Thursday. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong
Trainer Matt Dale guides Everest runner Fell Swoop in the Moruya river on Thursday. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

The TJ Smith Stakes is on the radar for Canberra sprinter Fell Swoop after trainer Matthew Dale said he's fully recovered from the horse hiccups that cruelled his run in The Everest.

Dale's on the Gold Coast for the Magic Millions sales, where he also has Zafina running in the $250,000 Country Cup on Australia's richest day of racing.

The Canberra trainer will also have an eye turned towards Sydney, where Tower Of Song's running in the benchmark 86 handicap (1400 metres), and Queanbeyan, where he has Homebird in the class 3 handicap (1200m).

But his stable star has been back in work for about six weeks down at his Moruya stables, where he'll continue with the beach lifestyle until he heads to Melbourne to begin his autumn campaign.

That will start with the listed Bob Hoysted Handicap (1000m) at Flemington on March 3 before a three-week break going into the group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley.

Dale said a good campaign would see the six-year-old gelding have his third run in the TJ, where he's finished second and third behind Chautauqua the last two years, in Sydney two weeks later.

Fell Swoop ran in the inaugural $10 million Everest, but had the thumps - or horse hiccups - and finished last.

"[The TJ] is always a race in the back of our minds. He's run the last two and run out of his skin each year. It's certainly there, we just want to give him those opportunities to bounce back and get on the front foot early in the preparation before we commit to anything," he said.

Dale spent Friday looking at prospective buys at the Magic Millions sales before he'll turn his attention to the Country Cup on Saturday.

He rated the four-year-old mare a "legitimate chance" after her recent form, which has seen her run a second and third in her last two starts.

She'll be Dale's first runner on the Magic Millions race day, where there's $9.5 million in prizemoney up for grabs across the nine races.

"She's a legitimate chance in the race, she's racing in good form and drawn a good gate, with Jason Collett riding her in great form," Dale said.

"It's my first runner on the day, I've been up here a number of times for the sales - that's a big incentive to buy a horse out of this sale is to be a part of the race day going forward."

Dale said Tower Of Song was taking a "number of runs to get fit" and would take a couple more to be "rock-solid fit", while it will be Homebird's first run past the 1000m mark.

This story Canberra trainer Matthew Dale says TJ Smith Stakes still on Fell Swoop's radar first appeared on Brisbane Times.