Warrnambool trainer Matthew Williams believes Group One winner Gailo Chop is still one run away from producing his best but he is expecting a better performance from the gelding at Caulfield.
After a lengthy lay-off, Gailo Chop runs for the second time for Williams in Sunday’s Group One Underwood Stakes (1800m).
Gailo Chop resumed racing in the Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 14, and after leading, faded in the straight to finish 13th behind Gatting.
Williams conceded the run was below par, but said circumstances did not pan out the way he had hoped.
With Damien Oliver aboard on Saturday, Williams sees the race playing out differently and while not confident of success he can see an improved finishing position.
“He’ll come across and not necessarily lead this time and he could get a nice run outside the leader,” Williams said.
“He was forced to go too hard last time as the horse outside him dictated the pace.
“This time with Ollie on he’ll be coming across from an outside gate and he should get to control the speed a little bit.
“If he could get three furlongs (600m) where they’re running 12-1/2 (seconds) it will give him the chance to finish right off, but if they’re breaking 12 for every furlong, like they were in the Makybe, it’s too strong for him.”
Gailo Chop spent almost 18 months away from the track recovering from a tendon injury after running second to Winx in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes in April 2018.
Williams said Gailo Chop came through his Flemington return well.
“There was no change in the tendon which is good and he has definitely tightened up a bit more,” Williams said.
“He’ll certainly be a couple of lengths better off for having that run, but I think he’s still a run away from going to the races with a little bit of confidence of giving the race a shake.
“He went to Ararat on Tuesday and worked with Harbour Views in a strong 1400-metre gallop which will also help him a bit more.”
There has been some specking for Gailo Chop from $51 to $41 since the final field was declared on Wednesday.
Homesman, winner of the race last year, holds favouritism at $2.80.