Variation enhanced his reputation as a star three-year-old when he scored a history making win in the Listed Belmont Guineas (1600m) yesterday.
Aided by a sublime Brad Parnham ride, Variation, who started favourite, settled fourth with cover from a wide draw and burst clear to grab the lead passing the 200m.
The War Chant gelding, trained by Stephen Miller, fought on strongly when challenged by Gatting and scored by one length with Western Temple running third.
Gatting, who won the WA Derby (2400m) in April, lost no admirers in finishing second and is sure to strip fitter and improve as he steps up in distance.
The son of Hard Spun will have an opportunity to turn the tables on Variation when they likely meet again in next fortnight’s Listed Aquanita Stakes (2000m).
Variation, who passed half a million dollars in prize money, added the Belmont Guineas to his victory in the Group 2 WA Guineas (1600m) last November at Ascot, becoming the first horse in WA to win both feature races.
For Miller, it was his third Belmont Guineas triumph and first as a trainer after winning it previously as a jockey with Perfect Answer (1989) and Final Impact (1993).
The top horseman said Variation’s sixth win from 12 starts had brought a sense of relief.
“The pressure was starting to get to me because everyone was on top of him, but he is just an unbelievable little horse,” Miller said.
“If he pulls up well he will have a crack at the Aquanita Stakes, but I will be guided by the owners and the horse.
“It’s all very exciting plus the people who are involved in him have been with me for a very long time.”
Parnham, who angled across and box seated from barrier 11, predicted more feature race success for Variation and remained confident he would be able to handle a step-up in distance in the Aquanita Stakes.
“I have said it time and time again that he is a class animal,” Parnham said.
“I think he can have a serious crack at the Railway Stakes.
“I do think he will get the 2000m.”