Trainer John Gosden is happy with the 2014 Melbourne Cup lead-up form of Gatewood and is confident that the Galileo gelding can measure up in ‘the race that stops a nation’ at Flemington tomorrow.
Gatewood was sent back to Europe after a failed stint under the care of Chris Waller in 2013, but he has returned to his best form as a member of the Gosden yard and took out both the Listed Tapster Stakes (2414m) at Goodwood on May 24 and the Group 3 Prix De Reux (2500m) at Deauville on August 10 during his successful season in the Northern Hemisphere.
Gosden told Racing Ahead this morning that you can’t question the 2014 Melbourne Cup lead-up form of Gatewood and he is confident that the OTI Racing-owned stayer will be competitive in the Melbourne Cup as long as the track is not too firm.
“He has been very consistent and he is enjoying his racing,” Gosden said.
“He has travelled well over here; it is a long journey and he was looking a bit light, but he has put that weight back on.
“I was happy with his this morning; he had a buck and a kick going around the track there and he spent half his time trying to get his rider off.
“I think that is a sign that he is feeling good.
“I think that he is in good form and I happy with him, but the only thing I would say is that he is one of those horses that prefers good to soft ground and if it was very quick he probably wouldn’t be in love with that.”
Gatewood has shown a degree of tactical versatility during his racing career to date, but jockey William Buick was set a tough assignment after connections drew barrier 22 for the seven-year-old at the 2014 Melbourne Cup barrier draw on Saturday night.
Gosden said that he remains hopeful Gatewood will be able to have a trouble free run into the race, but he revealed that he will not be giving Buick any firm instructions in the lead-up to the Melbourne Cup.
“I will very much leave that to the jockey,” Gosden said.
“We can discuss it as much as you like and I understand how the race tends to be run, so you are respectful of that, but it depends whether they might go a little quick early or whether they drop anchor down the back straight or whether some of the Europeans decide to go on at a more even pace.
“I think you need to leave it as a big wide open canvas to ride the race as it comes up.
“We, like everyone, plan to be in a nice position, get into a nice rhythm and get a breather and go again, but sometimes races don’t happen purely like you want them to.”
Gatewood is currently available at 2014 Melbourne Cup odds of $71 to deliver Gosden a maiden win in the $6 million event.