Gatting turns giant-killer in Schweppes WATC Derby
Pint-sized gelding Gatting turned giant-killer with a dominant win in today’s Group 2 $400,000 Schweppes WATC Derby (2400m) at Ascot.
In a muddling-run race, French jockey Matthieu Autier took advantage of a perfect run on Gatting ($4.40) after settling him just off the speed.
Autier shot the three-year-old through a gap on straightening and took the lead from Chill The Champers at the 200m.
He skipped clear to score by 1 ¾ lengths from Very Tempting ($3.40 favourite), who ran on for second after being held-up on straightening.
Chill The Champers ($101) held on for third.
Gatting’s massive group of owners celebrated in style and trainer Darren McAuliffe labelled the win “a dream come true”.
The Hard Spun gelding overcame several setbacks, including a fractured skull last year, to win the derby.
“When he (Autier) pressed the button at the top of the straight, he just ran away from them,” McAuliffe said.
“There were probably a few hard-luck stories. It was a muddling-run race.
“I’ve never had one like him. He’s just not a stereotypical derby horse.
“He just keeps doing it and I’m very proud of him.”
Autier said Gatting pulled for most of the race but was too strong late.
“He’s just got the best turn of foot for stayers,” Autier said.
WA Guineas (1600m) winner Variation turned the tables on Quilista to win the Listed Raconteur Stakes (1500m).
Variation ($3.60) stalked the speed and took the lead on straightening from Quilista ($1.70 favourite), who over-raced badly in front.
Brad Parnham kicked Variation clear to beat Western Temple ($16) by a length. Quilista, who beat Variation in the Rangeview Stud Classic (1400m) at Bunbury last start, was third.
“In the end I just left it up to Brad and I said to him that he was on a fit horse today and just ride him how you want to ride him,” trainer Stephen Miller said.
“The way it turned out, I thought if he ever got behind Quilista, she’d want to be pretty good to beat him.”
Dendee notched her first stakes win with a comfortable victory in the Listed Sheila Gwynne Classic (1400m).
The $2.90 favourite, ridden by Chris Parnham, ran on from third on the turn to beat Let It Slip ($5) by a length.
“It was pretty much the only thing we worried about, whether they crawled in front,” trainer Dan Morton said.
“But it was the polar opposite of that and it worked in our favour.”
Trainer Roy Rogers said Candlelight Star, an impressive winner of the Red Shoe Society Handicap (1200m), will back-up in tomorrow week’s Fitzpatrick Plate (1200m) at Albany.
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