Trainer Darren McAuliffe’s attention will largely be focused on the happenings at Flemington tomorrow, but he’s bullish he has the right horse to score in the feature event at Belmont Park.
McAuliffe has Gatting and Rebel King engaged in feature races in Melbourne, where he will be on Saturday, while Abdicator will fly the Impressive Racing flag at Belmont in the Listed Farnley Stakes (1400m).
The gelding produced an encouraging performance in the Peninsula Mile (1650m) on August 24 when he finished fifth to Touch Of Silver.
That followed another fifth placing to No Say In It over a mile at Belmont on August 10.
McAuliffe said he has been pleased with Abdicator’s form and expected a bold showing in tomorrow’s Listed event.
“Mitchell Pateman galloped him on Tuesday and he was straight on the phone giving me a glowing report on how he worked,” he told TABradio.
“I think his runs have been excellent.
“He’s dropping back to 1400 which is his trip.
“I think he’s got really good claims.”
Lee Newman rides Abdicator for the first time in race conditions tomorrow, replacing Chloe Azzopardi who has ridden him so far this campaign.
The five-year-old is rated an $8.50 chance in TABtouch’s market, which is headed up by the Grant and Alana Williams-trained Tellem We’re Comin at $3.10.
Gatting will line up in Melbourne for the first time in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m), where he lines up against boom mare Mystic Journey and Memsie Stakes winner Scales Of Justice.
The 2017 WA Derby winner finished at the tail of the field in the Idyllic Prince Stakes at Belmont a fortnight ago after he endured a tough run in transit.
McAuliffe said it would be a difficult task for Gatting to win tomorrow, but was confident he would measure up to the class over more distance on the east coast.
“It’s an extremely high class field and without question the best field he would’ve encountered,” he said.
“I’d be looking to see him run a nice race and he will definitely improve getting to Caulfield stretching to 1800.
“The Underwood (Stakes) should see him show his wears I’d say.”
Gatting, to be ridden by Jamie Kah, is rated a $51 chance with TABtouch.
McAuliffe said Rebel King deserved his place in the Group 2 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) at Flemington, which will also be his first start in Victoria.
Rebel King has drawn barrier 14 for the race down the Flemington straight and McAuliffe said he would leave tactics to jockey Damian Lane.