Veteran Gailo Chop poised to rise again
CONCEDING Gailo Chop is still short of peak fitness, trainer Matthew Williams expects the multiple Group 1 winner to improve substantially in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on Sunday.
The Mackinnon Stakes winner resumed with a fading 13th behind Gatting in the Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington two weeks ago after over-racing.
In a contest littered with Group 1 winners, the French import will jump from barrier 11 in the Underwood - the second widest gate - under Damien Oliver.
"He'll come across and not necessarily lead this time and he could get a nice run outside the leader," Williams said.
"He was forced to go too hard last time as the horse outside him dictated the pace.
"This time with Ollie on he'll be coming across from an outside gate and he should get to control the speed a little bit."
Williams hopes Gailo Chop is able to capitalise on soft mid-race sectionals and produce sharp improvement as he tracks towards the Cox Plate on October 26.
Gailo Chop was sidelined for almost 18 months with a tendon injury after running second to Winx in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes in April 2018.
Williams said Gailo Chop had come through his Flemington return well.
"There was no change in the tendon, which is good, and he has definitely tightened up a bit more," Williams said.
"He'll certainly be a couple of lengths better off for having that run, but I think he's still a run away from going to the races with a little bit of confidence of giving the race a shake.
"He went to Ararat on Tuesday and worked with Harbour Views in a strong 1400-metre gallop which will also help him a bit more."
Homesman, who won the Underwood last year, is a $2.60 favourite with Ladbrokes, ahead of Hartnell ($4.40) and Gatting ($4.60). Gailo Chop has firmed from $51 to $34.
Stream over 50 sports live & anytime on your TV or favourite device with KAYO SPORTS. The biggest Aussie sports and the best from overseas. Just $25/month. No lock-in contract. Get your 14 day free trial