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Last year’s winning trainer Darren Weir has described this season’s Australian Cup 2018 favourite Gailo Chop as the “right horse” to hand him with successive victories in the Super Saturday feature at Flemington.
Twelve months ago Weir saddled-up Humidor (2017) for his Australian Cup success on the back of a lead-up second in the Peter Young Stakes.
This weekend at Flemington Racecourse the master Victorian horseman looks on track to post successive wins in the race by a trainer for the first time since the Vo Rogue double in 1989-90.
Weir will saddle-up the dominant favourite for the Group 1 $1.5 million Australian Cup (2000m), gun French import Gailo Chop chasing a third win on the trot this time in.
“It’s pretty hard, but he’s the right horse I think,” Weir told AAP.
First-up the seven-year-old son of Deportivo won the Group 3 Carlyon Cup (1600m) before returning to Caulfield a fortnight later to salute in the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) in a front-running effort that impressed Weir.
“It looked like he was loving it and it was a terrific win,” he said.
“When he came back into work the plan was to head here and then to Sydney.
“He looks on track.”
The gelding now dominates all-in Australian Cup betting at Ladbrokes.com.au paying $3.50 to do the double last completed by Fiorente (2014).
Still relatively lightly-raced having enjoyed a dozen wins from 25 career starts to date, Gailo Chop is already a dual Group 1 winner down under.
His first elite level triumph when still trained by Antoine De Watrigant came in October of 15 in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington over the same track and distance as the Australian Cup.
He enjoyed a second Group 1 success over 2000m last spring when defeating subsequent Melbourne Cup runner-up Johannes Vermeer in the Caulfield Stakes.
The major danger to Gailo Chop looking at the all-in Australian Cup odds is the class Nick Olive-trained mare Single Gaze ($7).
Runner-up in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) last October, the five-year-old daughter of Not A Single Doubt comes off two close seconds this time in.
First-up she was luckless behind Hartnell in the Group 1 Ladbrokes C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) when beaten a nostril flare before crossing next best behind Gailo Chop in the Peter Young Stakes results a fortnight ago.
The Godolphin-raced Hartnell heads the latest Australian Cup ballot after winning the CF Orr Stakes before his third in the Peter Young Stakes and is paying $11 to return to winning form on Saturday.
Other standout Australian Cup horses in 2018 include the 2016 Melbourne Cup winner Almandin and The Taj Mahal at $8 each from the stables of Liam Howley for prolific owner Lloyd Williams.
Eight-year-old Almandin comes off a first-up second in the Listed Ladbrokes Mornington Cup Prelude (2000m) when giving all the weight away on Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes Day.
Last start Sandown Classic winner in the spring The Taj Mahal meanwhile is yet to race this year.
The official Australian Cup 2018 final field is set for release on Tuesday morning making now the time to head to Ladbrokes.com.au and back your early tips.
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