Connections of French horse Gailo Chop have put his unplaced Cox Plate run down to experience and expect an improved performance in the Mackinnon Stakes.
Gailo Chop was one of three international invitees in last Saturday’s Cox Plate at Moonee Valley but the race didn’t go to plan and he finished eighth, 12 lengths from the winner Winx.
Trainer Antoine De Watrigant says Gailo Chop is a better horse than his Cox Plate result indicates and expects him to be more comfortable on the expansive Flemington track.
“I prefer Flemington, a big track,” De Watrigant said.
“The ground is firm but I prefer the conformation.”
Part-owner Simon O’Donnell from OTI Racing also expects Flemington to be more to Gailo Chop’s liking.
“When you look at the tracks that these horses run at in France, in general a place like Flemington with the wider expanses is always going to be more suitable to a European horse than the tighter track at Moonee Valley,” O’Donnell said.
“Hopefully that’s something that’s definitely in our favour on Saturday.
“Antoine is happy, the team is happy so we go to the Mackinnon and hopefully the A-game is there.
“And if the A-game is there, he’s a 2000 metre specialist and hopefully that holds us in good stead.”
Gailo Chop will be racing on a seven-day back up for the first time which O’Donnell admits is not standard for horses in Europe.
“Most of the European horses haven’t seen that before but they have such a wonderful grounding you’re always confident they can do it,” he said.
Seven of the past 10 Mackinnon Stakes winners have had their previous start in the Cox Plate including Happy Trails last year.
Gailo Chop is one of four Cox Plate runners in the Mackinnon along with Happy Trails, Pornichet and Fawkner.
Magic Hurricane, a last-start winner of the Group One Metropolitan in Sydney, is favourite at $6 ahead of Stratum Star ($7) who is coming off a Coongy Handicap win.