Gailo Chop produced a credible performance to finish mid-pack in last weekend’s Cox Plate, but has responded in the best way possible at Flemington this afternoon in completing a strong start-to-finish performance to win the 2015 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m).
Gailo Chop booked his ticket to Australia off the back of a number of strong performances against some of the world’s best racehorses in Europe, and had clearly taken plenty of benefit from his run in the Cox Plate first-up when flying the barriers this afternoon and immediately taking out the pace.
Receiving a dream run in transit on the rails and setting only a fair tempo for the talent rich Group 1 field, jockey Ben Melham allowed the gelding sufficient time to balance upon arriving at the final straight before mounting a sprint assault.
At one point dropping off the pace of Rising Romance, the Deportivo gelding mustered an impressive kick to re-take the lead and hit the line half a length in the clear; Godolphin runner Contributer boxing on for third.
Melham delivered a gem of a ride aboard Gailo Chop to win the 2015 Mackinnon Stakes and was quick to lay all the praise on the class and fortitude of the French raider in the success.
“I knew he’d find a lot leading this horse,” Melham said.
“He had to do a bit of work from the barriers for four of five hundred metres but I had it pretty soft through the middle.
“I was happy just to keep him together well in the straight. Rising Romance put a solid challenge on him but he dug deep and was really tough to the line.
“I still thought he ran really well in the Cox Plate and things didn’t go his way, but I knew if I could find the top on him he’d run really well.
“A job very well done.”
Trainer Antoine De Watrigant did not think the Moonee Valley conditions suited his runner last weekend, and rated Gailo Chop’s performance in the Mackinnon Stakes as far-closer to what the horse is capable of.
“I am very happy, this is my first Group 1 (in Australia),” De Watrigant said after the race.
“I am very happy to win in Australia for OTI. They have been very welcoming for me.
“It was a good performance. Last week was not a good track for him and this week, this track is a lot like the one in France, Longchamp, which is far easier for us.
“He’s a very good horse.”
In taking out the 2015 Mackinnon Stakes, Gailo Chop has now posted an impressive eight wins and three minors through only fourteen career starts.