Having seen how Darren Weir’s first Sydney Group One winner Gailo Chop has come through his race, Jarrod McLean has no doubt the French import is equipped to defy history in the Tancred Stakes.
Weir’s foreman at his Warrnambool base represented Victoria’s leading trainer at Rosehill last Saturday when Gailo Chop claimed the Ranvet Stakes (2000m) by three lengths.
That margin of victory means McLean has no hesitation about Gailo Chop’s ability to back up in Saturday’s $1.5 million Kia Tancred Stakes (2400m) ahead of a potential clash with champion Winx in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) on April 14.
McLean’s view hasn’t changed while he has been looking after Gailo Chop at a beachside training facility organised by Australian Bloodstock near Newcastle airport.
Since the Ranvet Stakes and Tancred Stakes were moved to a week apart in 2015, no horse who has been placed in the former has done likewise in the second leg.
However, McLean was bullish about the $2.25 TAB favourite bucking that trend.
“He’s come through the run really good and I see no reason why number one, he shouldn’t run and number two, why he can’t win again,” McLean said.
Gailo Chop is one of four Ranvet Stakes runners backing up, alongside runner-up Single Gaze plus Lindsay Park duo Harlem and Ventura Storm.
Silent Achiever is the ninth and most recent horse to complete the double in 2014, when there was a fortnight between runs.
“He’s a big strong horse and obviously he’s in the zone. I don’t think the back-up will be an excuse,” McLean said.
Gailo Chop raced over 2400m once for previous trainer Antonie De Watrigant when unplaced in the Sheema Classic in Dubai two years ago.
“The way he’s racing I don’t think another 400 metres is going to worry him,” he said.
Almandin, the 2016 Melbourne Cup winner, has his first start in Sydney as the $3.70 second elect followed by Single Gaze ($7), who is trying to win her first Group One race since the Vinery Stud Stakes at the corresponding meeting two years ago.
The Chris Waller-trained Libran has been withdrawn with the stable to be represented by veteran Who Shot Thebarman with Tye Angland replacing an ailing Hugh Bowman.