Trainer Matthew Williams is set to make his first-ever trip to Perth for Saturday’s Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m), but he isn’t sure what to expect from the visit.
The Warrnambool trainer saddles up Gailo Chop in the final G1 of the year and he’s anxious to see just how the nine-year-old races and if he can return to his early-season form.
Depending how the OTI Racing import performs at Ascot on Saturday, he’ll either book himself another campaign in 2020 or be ready for a possible retirement.
The triple G1 winner has been disappointing in his past two runs, finishing unplaced in the G1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) and the G2 Crystal Mile (1600m).
But Williams is confident that if the veteran gelding can return to the level he showed with his placing in the G1 Underwood Stakes in September that he’ll give the Kingston Town a red-hot crack.
“If he races as well as he did in the Underwood, he will be a top three chance,” Williams said.
“He had excuses last start in the Mackinnon running into a headwind in a race you didn’t want to be leading in.
“Barrier 12 isn’t ideal for Saturday, but he steps back in trip again to the 1800m and with the blinkers on again will hopefully be sharp.
“Hopefully he can get the tempo to suit and even though he’s drawn wide will be able to get across in the first furlong and then get back a bit before getting rolling from the 600m.”
For the past two weeks Gailo Chop has been stabled at Lindsey Smith’s Perth property, where he has been able to do some heavy sand work as well as beach training.
“He’s an official member of the old man’s club now and that heavy sand training works so well for them,” Williams added.
“From all accounts he’s bright and well and has really been enjoying himself over there.
“Regardless of what happens he’ll return to Warrnambool early next week, and hopefully we’re all making the trip home with a big smile on our faces.”