Three of our spring stars returned to racing at Caulfield on Saturday and had a great day. It has been well documented already in the media that Gailo Chop won well at Group 3 level, however, we were equally as pleased with the returns of Lord Fandango and Gallic Chieftain.
In the race that Gailo Chop won impressively, the Archie Alexander trained Lord Fandango finished resolutely into 3rd position, beaten around 3 lengths. Lacking a turn of foot when the winner kicked for home, he really picked up over the concluding stages to finish very strongly. A winner over 2400m at Group 2 level in the spring, he was always expected to find Saturday’s 1600m journey too short, but this was a most encouraging return. Gailo Chop and Lord Fandango appear set to renew their rivalry at Caulfield on February 24 in the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes over 1800m. Under weight-for-age conditions, Gailo Chop may again be better suited than Lord Fandango here. However, watch for Lord Fandango later in the preparation once he gets to handicap conditions and over a touch further.
Earlier in the day, in Race 1 on the card, we had Gallic Chieftain return to racing in a 1800m Handicap with Dean Yendell aboard. The gelding showed himself to have come back to this preparation in good form finishing third. Off a slow pace early and then with a long sprint home, Gallic Chieftain’s run from the tail of the field was full of merit. Gallic Chieftain appears set to head next to the Listed Mornington Cup Prelude over 2000m, back at Caulfield on February 24. He is another one that will most likely find himself campaigning in Sydney later this preparation, with the Group 1 Sydney Cup one race that is firmly on his radar.
With Aloisia expected to be one runner at Flemington this weekend, there is a definite feel that the ‘autumn’ carnival is well and truly underway, despite having two weeks of summer still to see out.