Improving Swiftfalcon takes flight at Rosehill

It took plenty of perseverance and horsemanship, but Jay Ford has helped two-year-old Swiftfalcon post an against-the-odds win at Rosehill and in the process lay an important platform for the spring.

The Hawkes Racing youngster jumped on terms but drifted back to a clear last from his wide draw as he struggled to handle the heavy conditions.

Under hard riding for much of the race, Swiftfalcon ($6.50) eventually began to respond to Ford's encouragement, picking up the bit and finishing boldly down the outside to overpower Graceful Artist ($16) by a length with leader Sovereign Hill ($3.10 fav) another 1-1/2 lengths away.

Swiftfalcon wins the first race on the program at Rosehill Gardens; picture

Ford said Swiftfalcon made hard work of it throughout the race but showed class and resilience to win regardless.

"He was under the pump from the get-go. He really struggled in the ground," Ford said. "I was quite happy to ride him wherever he was, but it was quite clear early that out the back was the only place we were going to be.

"That adds merit to his win. I know they've overdone it up front and we've run home in slow time, but he didn't go a yard [in the ground] and he still got the job done. He's got good ability and he'll get better as he gets more experience."

Swiftfalcon clocked 1:28.08 in winning Saturday's Chandon Handicap (1400m), his time more than five seconds outside the class record set by Winx in 2014, with the track retrospectively downgraded from a Heavy 8 to 9 following the race.

Co-trainer John Hawkes believes Swiftfalcon has the attributes to develop into a handy three-year-old and says the horse will spelled with a view to next season. He was also rapt with the result for the juvenile's sire, Exceedance, who Team Hawkes trained to win the 2019 Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes.

"His sire Exceedance is doing a super job and will make a good stallion," Hawkes said. "His progeny will get better as they get older and horses like Swiftfalcon are going to make good three-year-olds.

"He will go to the paddock now. We will give him a breather and bring him back for hopefully some of the better races in the spring."