OTI owned French galloper Gailo Chop could be Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival bound this year for a shot at the Cox Plate 2014 after stepping up to elite level class in the US next month.
Australia’s OTI Racing Syndicate’s managing director Terry Henderson has confirmed the acceptance of the Deportivo three-year-old for the opening $1.25 million Group 1 Belmont Derby Invitational (2000m) in New York on July 5.
Henderson said they would use Gailo Chop’s Belmont Derby Invitational performance as a gauge to where they were at against the top tier gallopers including the in-form Group 2 winning Jamie Osborne-trained colt Toast Of New York.
“This race is a relatively new race in America and it’s an invitational race, so when we received an invitation for it we looked at it closely and decided to go,” Henderson told RSN’s Racing Ahead.
“I think the two horses that seem to stand out outside of the American horses are Toast Of New York and Gailo Chop.
“Toast Of New York has been very impressive and his work this week was reported as being most impressive as well so he’ll be a serious contender, but he too is a little like Gailo Chop he’s a fairly mature horse but a fairly exciting one.”
That race could prove a pivotal lead-up then to a trip down under for the spring where Henderson believes their up-and-comer would be most suited to the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m).
Australasia’s weight-for-age championship runs at Moonee Valley Racecourse on October 25 and early favourite to win in the pre-nomination Cox Plate odds is the Queen’s horse Carlton House ($9) prepared in Sydney by Gai Waterhouse.
Henderson said they also hadn’t ruled out completely a shot at the world’s richest handicap with Gailo Chop who will be given the chance to prove dour enough for the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November.
“We’re also very conscious that he’s still three and he isn’t, he’s certainly not fully furnished yet this horse, we tend to be a little bit conservative when looking at those sorts of races which are tough races to win, it would come onto the radar most certainly should he win or run second in this race,” Henderson said.
“It certainly doesn’t qualify him for the Melbourne Cup but we‘re not t even sure he’ll end up being there at any stage he’ a little too brilliant I think perhaps, but for a race like the Cox Plate, well that would certainly be considered.
“He gets very favourably treated with being a European three-year-old as well look it’s nice to have on the dream sheet but we won’t get too carried away yet.
“We’ve said, let’s race over here (America) this will give us a pretty good guide of where the horse is at, its top level, he’ll go back to France immediately then we’ll look at him and then decide whether Melbourne comes onto the radar this year but he’ll certainly be heading down here at some stage if it’s not this year it will be next.”
The promising youngster has had seven starts to date for five wins and two minor placings so are yet to run a bad race.
They’ve won all three of their 2014 starts at home going up through the grades and distance with their most recent effort being a one and a quarter length victory over Aventador in the Group 3 Prix Noailles (2100m) on April 21.
That was their maiden start for OTI and had connections confident of bigger things to come.
“He’s a very exciting horse he’s a fairly mature horse, he’s a gelding which is a little bit unusual for European horses and he really hasn’t put a foot wrong in his career especially in his three-year-old career,” Henderson said.
“He’s been very impressive and I think one of the races was a track record but he’s got more the traits and you would have seen in his action those old New Zealand stayers that can really finish off a race well.”
Waterhouse could also be represented in the Belmont Derby Invitational with her maiden American runner.
A recent purchase for the reigning Melbourne Cup winning trainer, French colt Pornichet comes off a Group 1 Poule D’essai Des Poulains (1600m) third at Longchamp in early May.
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