Gailo Chop will head to the 2017 Ladbrokes Cox Plate after her led from start to finish to take out the Ladbrokes Stakes at Caulfield this afternoon.
Jockey Mark Zahra elected to take up the running on Gailo Chop in the early stages of Ladbrokes Stakes and he kicked away when he was asked for an extra effort at the top of the straight.
Aidan O’Brien-trained Johannes Vermeer flashed home in the final 200 metres in an eye-catching performance, but Zahra timed his ride to perfection and Johannes Vermeer was unable to catch a gallant Gailo Chop.
Zahra was always confident that Gailo Chop was ready to peak in the Ladbrokes Stakes and he said that the plan was always to take up the running in the early stages of the Group 1 event.
“His win in the Mackinnon he led from the front and this prep he has just been sitting off them early, but today I was able to hold them out and he just lobbed along beautifully in front,” Zahra said.
“I saw Ollie’s horse coming and I was scrambling for the post, but he was spot-on and it is great to ride a winner for Terry Henderson and OTI.
“I have to give full credit to Weiry (Darren Weir) – they have said all along that the Ladbrokes Stakes was his race and when they one for a certain race they don’t miss often.”
Trainer Darren Weir was delighted to see Gailo Chop return to winning form in the Ladbrokes Stakes and he paid credit to his entire team for nursing the imported galloper back to full health following a serious leg injury.
“The team have done a lot of work behind the scenes because he came to us with an injury,” Weir said.
“It has been a big team effort all around to get him back.
“He has just been building towards something like that and I thought that every run has been great.
“I have just been waiting for the right day to get him fit enough to be in front.”
Gailo Chop was included in the second acceptances for the 2017 Ladbrokes Cox Plate and Weir confirmed that the Ladbrokes Stakes winner would take on the great mare Winx in the Australasian Weight-For-Age Championship.
“He can go to the Cox Plate now,” Weir said.
“He has done his job at our stable now and he doesn’t have to anymore.
“He is a beautiful old horse and to go through what he has been through and comeback to win that is an amazing effort.”
There was a host of eye-catching runs heading towards the Caulfield Cup in the Ladbrokes Stakes, while the likes of Bonneval and Hartnell did not have a great deal of luck in running.