Gatting will take his next step towards a Group 1 double when he races second-up in the $125,000 Listed Northam Cup (1600m) this afternoon.

Last season’s WA Derby (2400m) champion has been nominated for the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) on November 25 and the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) at Ascot a fortnight later.

The Hard-Spun gelding, trained by Darren McAuliffe, impressed on his return when he ran sixth to Silverstream in last Saturday’s Group 3 Northerly Stakes (1400m), beaten 1 ½ lengths after being held up over the concluding stages.

The classy four-year-old has been allocated 54kg in the Northam Cup, an equal career low weight and a significant 4.5kg drop on his previous run.

Gatting, who can give McAuliffe his second Northam Cup in three years, has drawn barrier three.  French-born jockey, Matthieu Autier retains the ride.

“He is well weighted and it looks a nice race for him,” McAuliffe said.

“I expect him to run well and be hard to beat.”

Jockey Craig Staples, who partners Great Shot, says his faith in the Magnus gelding has been restored after he rebounded and returned to form in the Northerly Stakes.

Staples had Great Shot in front for the majority of the Northerly Stakes until he was caught in the shadows of the post by Silverstream, finishing a neck second.

Staples says he plans to ride Great Shot with confidence from his inside gate.

“Barrier one will make a big difference and the race should pan out a lot better,” Staples said.

“I don’t mind the 1600m and think it’s his best distance.

“I will be going out quite fast.”

Bunbury Cup winner Material Man faces a searching first up test over the mile, but has class on his side and cannot be left out calculations.

Julio Santarelli