Globe-trotting Gailo set to fill huge Winx void
HISTORY and the threat of career-ending injury are constant reminders of the challenge facing Gailo Chop, but Matthew Williams has the ultimate incentive to nurse the French import back to racing.
"It would be great to get to a Cox Plate without Winx there," Williams said.
"It's still early but the plan was to have him ready to kick off in the Makybe (Diva Stakes), then the Underwood (Stakes) and then the Cox Plate third-up if he was giving us all good signs."
The signs, so far, have been positive for one of racing's most resilient and underrated gallopers.
A multiple Group 1 winner, Gailo Chop has not raced since chasing home Winx 53 weeks ago in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick.
A tendon injury subsequently sidelined the imposing chestnut, terminating a campaign which netted three black type victories including the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes.
Now in the throes of overcoming a second major tendon problem, the rising nine-year-old gives Williams the impression he's on course for a racetrack return.
"He's really good, he had a tendon scan about three weeks ago and (vet) Andrew Cust, who's dealt with him all the way through, was very happy," Williams said.
"He's only doing trotting and cantering work at the moment but he's under saddle and doing that work at the beach and on the treadmill.
"No pressure has gone on yet but it's all looking as good as it could be.
"He's done a rehab program on the treadmill and the next step is under saddle beach work until the end of May.
"At the end of May, we'll rescan the tendon and then he'll do some pace work on the treadmill to have that really good flat surface.
"We're hoping to get him to the stage where he needs only a couple of trials on the grass.
"If we can get into the dunes (at Levy's Beach), it would really help with his cardio and getting him back to the track."
Gailo Chop has contested two Cox Plates, finishing eighth in 2015 and fifth in '17 - both behind Winx.