Gailo Chop will be out to give premier Victorian trainer Darren Weir back-to-back wins in the Group One Australian Cup at Flemington.
The seven-year-old heads into Saturday’s race as the clear-cut favourite in early markets to join last year’s winner Humidor on the Australian Cup honour roll.
“It’s pretty hard, but he’s the right horse I think,” Weir said.
Gailo Chop is a dual Group One winner over the Australian Cup distance of 2000m..
The French import took out the 2015 Mackinnon Stakes at Flemington when he was trained by Antoine De Watrigant.
The gelding added a second Group One win in last year’s Caulfield Stakes in his first preparation for Weir.
This campaign he has won the Group Three Carylon Cup (1600m) and Group Two Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield in his two Australian Cup lead-ups.
Weir was impressed by Gailo Chop’s dominant win in the Peter Young when he controlled the race from the front.
“It looked like he was loving it and it was a terrific win,” he said.
“When he came back into work the plan was to head here and then to Sydney.
“He looks on track.”
Gailo Chop was at $3.20 on Monday ahead of Single Gaze and 2016 Melbourne Cup winner Almandin at $8.
Trainer Kris Lees has confirmed Saturday’s Chipping Norton Stakes runner-up Prized Icon will not travel to Melbourne for the Australian Cup and is instead likely to have his next start in the Ajax Stakes in Sydney on Saturday week.
The Australian Cup is one of two Group One races at Flemington on Saturday with Weir set to have two runners in the Group One Newmarket Handicap over the straight 1200m.
“We’ve got Brave Smash and Ken’s Dream,” Weir said.
“Hellbent will just wait and run in the William Reid.”
Weir said reports from his Warrnambool foreman Jarrod McLean were that Brave Smash and Ken’s Dream had galloped extremely well on on Monday morning.