Gailo Chop ticking all the boxes for return
Gailo Chop remains on course for a remarkable Cox Plate comeback after emerging unscathed from a stunning Cranbourne trial victory.
The nine-year-old, who chased home Winx in the 2015 and '17 Cox Plates, could return to The Valley on October 26 after demolishing 10 restricted-class rivals in heavy conditions by 12 lengths at Cranbourne.
Trainer Matthew Williams was impressed as much by Gailo Chop's competitive zest as his post-race recovery after covering 1550m in 1.39.05 - four seconds quicker than his trial win over the same trip two weeks ago.
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"He was great, he had a little bit of a blow, but his recovery was great.
"Five minutes after the trial, his legs were fine.
"Mark (Zahra) gave him a little bit of a push but he's ticking all of the boxes at the moment."
Gailo Chop has been sidelined since finishing second behind Winx in the 2018 Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
Williams plans to start the chestnut in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 14.
The veteran will be primed by treadmill and beach work before galloping at Casterton on Monday. Williams was impressed by talented Harbour Views' 1190m trial victory.
The unbeaten gelding shaded Queensland Derby winner Mr Quickie in a quality heat.
"I'm really happy with him, too," Williams said.
"He's got improvement to come. He was a little bit fresh, sort of bounced and there wasn't a lot of speed and he ended up leading the trial.
"Late in the trial, Mark wasn't doing much on him but he held off a pretty smart horse."
The import is likely to resume at Caulfield in a Benchmark 78 over 1400m on September 30.
Santa Ana Lane pleased trainer Anthony Freedman and Zahra after finishing third in an 800m trial.
Favourite for The Everest next month, Santa Ana Lane is booked to resume in The Shorts at Randwick on September 21.