Trainer Darren McAuliffe is forgiving of Gatting’s last start run and expects his star gelding to produce a bold showing at Belmont on Saturday.

He said things did not pan out for Gatting in the Hyperion Stakes (1600m) with the Group 1 champion running below his best when 10th behind Perfect Jewel.

But with new rider Chris Parnham and a perfect draw in barrier three, McAuliffe expects Gatting to bounce back in the Strickland Stakes (2000m).

“It was obviously a run out of character and you have to forgive him,” McAuliffe told Tabradio.

“It was a bit of an unknown what happened, but Kyra (Yuill) was pretty quick to put her hand up and said it was probably pilot error.

“She was a little too soft on him and negative straight out of the gates from a wide draw.

“He’s been like that and has had a lend of plenty of people who have ridden him.

“He’s not the easiest of conveyances to ride and we will put a line through it.

“There was no real explanation, but we can’t fault him and his work has been great.

“He’s got a new rider on board with Chris (Parnham) who knows him and has ridden him in the past.

“I would like to see him no further back than fifth or sixth,”

Gatting and The Velvet King will give McAuliffe a strong hand in the Strickland Stakes, a race he won previously with Fuchsia Bandana (2015).

He admits The Velvet King is venturing into uncharted territory with the talented four-year-old having his first attempt at 2000m.

“Who will know if he can run out a strong trip,” McAuliffe.

“We will try and ride him a little bit colder and conservatively.

“He will either run it out or he won’t run it out, it remains to be seen.

“The instructions will be to hold him up for that little bit further and use a good turn of foot that he’s got.”

Mitchell Pateman retains the ride on The Velvet King, having partnered him to second placings in the Roma Cup (1200m), Belmont Sprint (1400m) and Hyperion Stakes (1600m).

To jump from barrier seven, The Velvet King has tightened to $3.40, sharing the second line of betting with Mississippi Delta.

Perfect Jewel is the $3.20 favourite. Gatting is at $8.

Julio Santarelli