Jockey Mitchell Pateman is confident that Gatting, in the absence of star power, provides him with his best opportunity of winning at Belmont on Saturday.
Pateman says Gatting will appreciate not running into Material Man and his talent should see him through in the Swan River Vase over 2200m.
Gatting had met Material Man on three occasions this campaign with his best performance a last-start third in the Group 3 Strickland Stakes (2000m).
Gatting, a winner of the WA Derby (2400m) last year, is in a battle with At The Ready, a fast-closing fourth in the Strickland Stakes, for favouritism.
At The Ready, prepared by Adam Durrant is $2.90 and Gatting $3.00. Falcon Crest ($3.40) and Dudemanbro ($4.60) are also in single figures.
“He will be very, very hard to beat,” Pateman said on Tabradio.
“He is a high class horse and probably lobs the weakest field he has met all preparation.
“He’s at his best distance and I reckon he will be very, very hard to beat tomorrow (Saturday).”
In a field of seven starters Gatting will jump from barrier two. Pateman says he can be adaptable from the draw.
“He can sit anywhere,” Pateman said.
“If something wants to lead I will be more than happy to let it go.
“If there is no speed he can lead and win.
“As long as he has clear running he will be very, very hard to beat.”
Earlier in race one Pateman and McAuliffe combine with exciting juvenile The Velvet King in the Salinger Plate (1300m).
All eyes are on the Universal Ruler gelding after he demolished a mid-week field by a 6 ¼ lengths when making his debut.
Despite meeting stronger and seasoned opposition second-up, The Velvet King holds dominant market favouritism at $1.95.
Adam Durrant’s Kelly’s Callisto, a winner at two of five starts, is $2.60.
Pateman says The Velvet King oozes talent, but faces a tougher test at his second race start.
“He is still green and learning a lot,” Pateman said.
“I expected if he found the front on debut he would win.
“But I never thought he could win like that.
“He won well, but whether it was inflated a bit by a wet track.
“We will find out a bit more tomorrow.
“It’s a lot stronger race and Adam’s (Durrant) horse has the score on the board and been there and done it on a Saturday.”