Until Saturday, it was almost 2 years since the horse gracing the front page of our website, Gailo Chop, had won a race. There were good reasons for his absence from the track.
After winning the McKinnon Stakes on October 31, 2015, he traveled to Hong Kong where on the eve of the 2000m Group 1, he pulled a muscle in his back and had to be scratched.
He returned to France for a short break. The following March he ran third at Chantilly before heading to the 2400m Sheema Classic in Dubai, possible the tougher 2400m race turf in the world. There he finished a creditable seventh beaten seven lengths behind Postponed and Highland Reel, two champions by anyone’s measure.
On returning to France, the horse was found to have suffered a tendon injury.
As a result, he headed to Australia for rehabilitation with local tendon guru Lee Evison. Evison’s unique approach to rehabilitation is now world-renowned, and again Lee got it right with Gailo. Darren Weir and his team from Warrnambool did the rest to get him to the races.
Saturdays win in the Listed Penny Edition was a combination of patience from our fellow owners, the rehabilitations processes of Evison, the training skills of Weir and the talents of his rider Johnny Allen. However, none of this would have been possible without the foundation laid in France by Antoine de Watrigant and Steve Haes, his attendant. Gailo arrived in Australia with only 16 runs behind him (now 18) with 8 wins (now 9) and over $1.5m prize money. Great credit must go to his former trainer for Gailo’s condition on arrival in Australia and his willingness to continue to compete.
Fingers crossed, Gailo Chop’s owners can look forward to a full spring carnival with their horse. His next target is likely to be the Makybe Diva on September 16; however, there are many options that could follow. The Cox Plate and possibly the Melbourne Cup could be amongst them. It would not surprise to see this well-winded horse progress from 2000 meter Classic at Moonee Valley race up to the 2-mile race on at Flemington.