Prize Hike Lures Harbour Views To Oaks Day

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The announcement of a prize money hike for the final of a Victorian country series has sparked the interest of Warrnambool trainer Matthew Williams.

Boosted to $500,000, the country series final at Flemington on the Oaks day program on November 7 is now a spring goal for lightly raced Harbour Views.

The French-bred import is unbeaten in three starts, opening his account at Warrnambool in May before claiming victory at Bendigo then winning at the Swan Hill carnival last month.

Harbour Views has been back in work for two weeks after a four-week stint in the paddock and Williams has worked out a spring campaign.

“He’ll trial early September and kick off the day after Grand Final day at Caulfield in a benchmark 78 race over 1400 metres,” Williams said.

“I’m pretty sure on Geelong Cup day (October 23) there’s a 1500-metre benchmark 80 race which is a qualifier for the country series on Oaks day.

“With it now being worth $500,000, and you take out all the metropolitan trainers, its very enticing.

“All going well we’ll look to head there and then onto the Ballarat Cup, that’s when he’ll jump to 2000 metres.”

Williams’ highest-rated galloper Gailo Chop, is about to have his workload increased after undergoing an extensive rehabilitation program to recover from a tendon injury.

Connections have Cox Plate aspirations for the rising nine-year-old who has not raced since finishing second to Winx in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick in April, 2018.

Williams said Gailo Chop would be put under saddle for the first time in a gallop on the Polytrack at Ballarat on Tuesday.

“He started faster work on the treadmill about six weeks ago,” Williams said.

“He’s at a stage now that he’s done so much galloping on the treadmill that he’ll be going 1000 (metres) evens and a nice working gallop over the last 600 metres.

“He’ll probably have two weeks of gallops under saddle and then on August 5 he’ll have an 1100-metre trial at Cranbourne.

“There’ll be room for three trials before he kicks off, all being well, in the Makybe Diva, on to the Underwood and if we’re going all right, the Cox Plate.”

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