Gatewood will return to Australian racing in the 2014 Melbourne Cup and co-trainer Terry Henderson believes that the in-form stayer is the best of his four guaranteed starters in the Group 1 event at Flemington next Tuesday.
Gatewood was first brought to Australia for a Melbourne Cup campaign in 2012 and he took out the Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m), but was unable to earn a start in ‘the race that stops a nation’ after he finished sixth in the Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m).
The Galileo entire joined the Chris Waller stable, but he failed to fire in four race starts during the 2013 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival and was sent back to John Gosden in the United Kingdom.
Gatewood returned to a semblance of his best form in the later part of the 2013 Northern Hemisphere racing season and he recorded his first race win for over 18 months when he took out the Listed Buckhounds Stakes (2414m) at Ascot on May 10 before scoring victories in the Listed Tapster Stakes (2414m) at Goodwood on May 24 and the Group 3 Prix De Reux (2500m) in Deauville on August 10.
OTI Racing elected to bring Gatewood back to Australia after he was allocated 55 kilograms by Racing Victoria Chief Handicapper Greg Carpenter when the 2014 Melbourne Cup weights were released last month and Henderson told Racing Ahead this morning that the six-year-old had settled in well at the Werribee International Equine Centre and is the best of the four OTI-owned horses that have secured a place in the Melbourne Cup field.
“He has had a great year; I think that he has been either first or second in his past nine races and some of those are at Group 2 level,” Henderson said.
“We are really delighted with him.
“He has settled in and his work this morning was solid.
“To be honest we couldn’t wish to have him in a better place on what we can see at the track.
“He probably prefers a little bit of cut out of the ground as we saw when he was out here for the Carnival two years ago, but he is in fine form and he is probably the top pick of ours at this stage.”
Norwegian-born jockey William Buick has been booked to ride Gatewood in the 2014 Melbourne Cup and he will be making his debut in ‘the race that stops a nation’.
Gatewood is currently available at 2014 Melbourne Cup odds of $51 with Ladbrokes Australia.