If trainer Darren McAuliffe’s planning is spot on, Gatting is in line to secure a second Group 1 victory in the space of three months in Saturday’s Magic Millions Kingston Town Classic (1800m) at Ascot.
McAuliffe prepared Gatting to a shock win at massive odds in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington in September and he’s sure that the gelding can produce another peak performance.
Since his Melbourne triumph, Gatting ran second to Star Exhibit in the Lee Steere Stakes (1400m) and seventh in the Railway Stakes (1600m) when he ran on from the back of the field.
Gatting is one of two runners vying for stable honours in the $1 million Kingston Town Classic with talented four-year The Velvet King amongst the field of 16 runners.
McAuliffe said the Kingston Town Classic has been a target race for Gatting, who is fast closing in on $2 million in stake earnings, since his Melbourne campaign.
“I think he will be very, very competitive and just got too far back in the Railway,” McAuliffe told Tabradio.
“This is the race for Gatting and one that I have been setting him for since he came back.
“I think he is going to be hard to beat.”
Gatting, a $16 chance on Tabtouch, will jump from barrier nine for Lucy Warwick. She replaces Mitchell Pateman, who partners The Velvet King.
Warwick reunites with Gatting after guiding the son of Hard Spun to victory in the Group 2 Lee Steere Stakes (1400m) last year.
She is looking to go one better in the Kingston Town Classic after Material Man ran second to boom filly Arcadia Queen 12-months back.
McAuliffe said Warwick is a good booking for Gatting.
“It was good that Mitchell (Pateman) put up his hand and said he might not suit the horse,” McAuliffe said.
“Lucy is very, very good with the horse and knows how I want him ridden.
“He’ll be camped behind the speed and I’m sure he’ll be a live hope.”
The Velvet King is quoted at $21 after fading to sixth in the Railway Stakes.
McAuliffe expects The Velvet King to be ridden with more intent.
“I think he is a better horse when he is allowed to roll along rather than trying to give him a breather,” McAuliffe said.
“That’s not his go and they outsprinted him.
“It might be a bit far for him on Saturday, but he won’t die wondering.”
The Velvet King will start outside of Gatting in barrier 10.
Pateman has ridden The Velvet King to four of his seven career wins.