Gatting Bats His Way To WA Derby

25
Mar

The Darren McAuliffe-trained Gatting stamped his claims for the WA Derby (2400m) when he posted a stirring win over Final Salute at Ascot on Saturday.

In a titanic finish with both combatants going stride for stride from the 200m, Gatting edged out Final Salute to win the Listed Melvista Stakes (2200m).

Ridden patiently at the back of the field by Matthieu Autier, Gatting exacted revenge after running an unlucky second to Final Salute in the J.C.Roberts Stakes (1800m) two weeks ago.

“It was a gutsy performance and a bit of revenge,” McAuliffe said.

“This will really top him off for his next start because the Roberts Stakes didn’t take much out of him as he didn’t see daylight.

“He has a Group One motor inside him with his response to training and his heart rate is quite phenomenal.”

Gatting, who is name after former England test captain, Mike Gatting, defeated Final Salute by a short head.

Taxagano and At The Ready ran third and fourth respectively.

French-born jockey, Autier, who took out his biggest win in Australia, said Gatting had passed a searching test.

“Obviously this is a bit of an achievement,” Autier said.

“The horse was spot on and my only concern was stepping up from the 1800m to the 2200m.

“I think he deserves it because last time he was pretty unlucky.”

Gatting has firmed to $4.50 for the WA Derby on April 8. Royal Star heads the market at $2.40, ahead of stable mate Final Salute ($4.35).