The OTI Racing-owned Mackinnon Stakes winning French raider Gailo Chop sets off overseas on Monday with the Australian contingent heading to Sha Tin Racecourse for a shot at the Hong Kong Cup 2015 on December 13.
OTI’s director Terry Henderson told Racing Ahead the Antoine de Watrigant-trained Deportivo gelding had freshened-up nicely after his win in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 31.
The horse, a winner of over $1.5 million in prize money from his eight victories from 14 starts, worked well on Saturday before boarding a plane on Monday set for Hong Kong for the International Race Day.
“He worked well on Saturday, very fresh, the horse looks great,” Henderson said.
“We’re very happy with where he is.
“He gets on the plane at midday today and hopefully he’ll make his presence felt in Hong Kong.”
Boasting winning form up to 2100m, the gelding joined the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Criterion and Kris Lees’ dual Group 1 winning mare Lucia Valentina on the flight with the trio all set to clash in the Group 1 Hong Kong Cup (2000m) Sunday week.
Also flying to Sha Tin from Melbourne for the famous meeting from Australia this summer was Preferment, the Chris Waller-trained Melbourne Cup failure entered for the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase (2400m) over the mile and a half.
The Mackinnon Stakes on Victoria Derby Day was Gailo Chop’s second run down under after things went wrong for him at Moonee Valley first-up in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) where he could only manage to run over 12 lengths away eighth behind Waller’s winning mare Winx.
After the Hong Kong Cup there are plenty of options connections are considering for Gailo Chop including a return to Australia for the weight-for-age Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival features including the $1 million Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington in early March.
Henderson said they also hadn’t ruled out more travelling with a trip to Dubai for the AUS$14 million Group 1 Dubai World Cup (2000m) at Meydan also on the cards.
“There are two options really, he can come back to Werribee and get ready for the Sydney races… or if he goes well we’d also consider the World Cup for him,” he said.
“This horse works on a sandy, dirt-type surface each day in France and it wouldn’t be beyond the possibilities he could go to Dubai.”
Current all-in Hong Kong Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au have Dermot Weld’s Irish galloper Free Eagle ($4) heading the markets followed by last year’s winner Designs On Rome ($4.80) and then Sebring stallion Criterion ($5.50).
Third in the race last year, Criterion ran third again over the 2000m at Sha Tin in late April behind Blazing Speed in the Group 1 QEII Cup.
His form this spring has been outstanding once again with a Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) win followed by his Cox Plate second and third to Prince Of Penzance last time out in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Gailo Chop meanwhile is just outside the single figure hopes in Hong Kong Cup betting at $11.
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