French galloper Gailo Chop beat a strong contingent of Australian trained weight for age horses to take out the Group 1 $1m Longines Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington today.
A well-judged front running ride by Melbourne jockey Ben Melham saw Gailo Chop bounce back from a disappointing eighth behind Winx in the Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley last week.
Gailo Chop came in for some solid support when the rain arrived in Melbourne this morning and the Flemington track was downgraded to a soft 5 and the five year old went to the post an $8 chance.
Melham had Gailo Chop quickly out of barrier four and took up the running in the early stages, rolling along at a nice tempo with race favourite Stratum Star ($5) right on his heels in second spot.
Melham stuck to the fence in the straight and after being headed by Rising Romance ($16), was able to kick back and beat the David Hayes and Tom Dabernig trained mare by half a length.
Contributer ($9) made up ground from midfield but after looking a winning chance half way down the straight faded slightly on his run to wind up in third spot.
After racing behind the leader for most of the trip, Stratum Star faded in the straight to finish thirteenth, eighteen lengths from the winner.
Winning French trainer Antoine de Watrigant said coming to the bigger spaces at Flemington suited Gailo Chop better than the tight Moonee Valley circuit.
“I am very happy to win in Australia,” Watrigant said.
“It was good performance. Last week it was not a good track for him. This time it is like the track in France at Longchamp. It was more easy for him.”
Watrigant is now considering taking Gailo Chop to Hong Kong to run in the Group 1 HK$25m Longines Hong Kong Cup (2000m) at Sha Tin on December 13.
“After that I prefer the Hong Kong Cup,” Watrigant said.
Melham was full of praise for Gailo Chop who fought back hard in the straight to gain victory.
“I knew he would find a lot,” Melham said.
“I had to do a little bit of work early but I had a pretty soft run after that.”
“I was happy just to keep him together to well in the straight and Rising Romance put a solid neck on him and he dug deep and was really tough to the line.”
Winning part owner from OTI Racing Simon O’Donnell praised Melham’s ride and was glad for Australian race goers to see the real Gailo Chop today.
“He is a really good horse,” O’Donnell said.
“The Cox Plate didn’t show him off properly but this has and he was beautifully ridden.”
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Mackinnon Stakes Results
|1||7||GAILO CHOP (FR)||Antoine de Watrigant||Ben Melham||–||4||59kg||$8|
|2||14||RISING ROMANCE (NZ)||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Damian Lane||0.5L||11||57kg||$16|
|3||5||CONTRIBUTER (IRE)||John O’Shea||James McDonald||0.9L||6||59kg||$9|
|4||11||MAGIC ARTIST (IRE)||Andreas Wohler||Brenton Avdulla||1L||1||59kg||$20|
|5||15||SET SQUARE||Ciaron Maher||Luke Currie||1.75L||7||56kg||$14|
|6||10||ECUADOR (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||Tommy Berry||1.85L||2||59kg||$20|
|7||3||EXTRA ZERO||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Michael Walker||3.85L||9||59kg||$31|
|8||2||HAPPY TRAILS||Paul Beshara||Dwayne Dunn||5.35L||5||59kg||$5.50|
|9||4||PORNICHET (FR)||Gai Waterhouse||Jim Cassidy||9.85L||3||59kg||$8.50|
|10||6||WEARY (FR)||Chris Waller||Glyn Schofield||10.85L||12||59kg||$41|
|11||8||INDEX LINKED (GB)||Chris Waller||Blake Shinn||12.1L||10||59kg||$31|
|12||13||STRATUM STAR||Darren Weir||Craig Williams||18.1L||13||58kg||$5F|
|13||12||FLAMINGO STAR (GER)||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||21.35L||8||59kg||$10|