Mar 17, 2017
It was a strong staying performance by Gilago at Sandown on Wednesday, the flashy chestnut mare proving a class above her rivals in the 3000m BM84 contest, the first heat of the Marathon Series.
A series which Robbie has had in mind for Gilago for some time, noting that until its inception there had not been a large number of suitable races for the lightly raced six-year-old.
"Most of the staying races are run at Moonee Valley and we have tried her there but it didn't really suit her, she is a big track horse."
Sent out favourite on the back of a dominant victory over 2500m at Pakenham a few weeks ago, Gilago settled beautifully towards the rear of the field.
Edged away from the rails by Ben Allen approaching the turn, Gilago was into the clear out wide in the straight and as the leader kicked clear she began her run.
"I was a bit worried when the field spread out," Allen admitted, "but once she started her run I knew I had the leaders covered."
Hitting the front at the 150m, Gilago quickly put her rivals away, her winning margin an impressive 3 1/4 lengths.
"She was going strongly to the line," Allen said, "and I think if the race had been longer she would've been all the stronger."
Robbie had been confident leading into the race, noting that Gilago was meeting similar opposition to her previous run yet, aided by Allen's claim, was still well in at the weights.
A daughter of Danehill stallion Churchill Downs and the unraced Encosta de Lago mare Encosta di Nero, Gilago showed early doors that she was going to be at her best over ground.
"In her very first trial she was ridden by Ivan Culliver," Robbie recalled, "and he said then that she was a nice staying type."
There is stamina in Gilago's pedigree, her third dam Sonalia being a stakes winner over 2200m in New Zealand and she produced the Group 3 Newcastle Gold Cup (2300m) winner Time Off and the 2400m winner Grandiloquent.