A mouth-watering battle between a trio of star Long Forest-trained squaregaiters looks likely somewhere down the track and that presents a real conundrum for Kate Gath.
The top reinswoman partnered Majestuoso to a brilliant first-up victory at Ballarat on Saturday night and now attention has turned to when the emerging four-year-old will take on his more high-profile stablemates.
Inter Dominion winner Tornado Valley and Group 1 victor McLovin also hail from the Andy Gath yard and a showdown between all three is expected in the coming weeks or months.
“If we can’t avoid it they probably have to,” Kate Gath said in a post-race interview for Trots Vision.
“Majestuoso probably feels better than them at home and the other two are a little bit more tradesman-like and don’t over-exert themselves at home.
“I’ve got no doubt (Majestuoso) is definitely not far off them and his racing pattern and his speed, he’ll love those bigger races if there is speed on. He’ll love whooshing home at the finish and being not too far away.”
If they are forced to clash, who would Gath drive? Reading deep into her comments, it’s hard not to think she’d lean the way of the up-and-coming Majestuoso.
“It probably gets down to draws really, who knows?” she said.
“This guy does have a little bit of x-factor and I can’t help but look forward to what the future holds.
“And I’m not looking forward to having to make the choice on which one I drive. Tornado did win me an Inter Dominion so it’s pretty hard to jump off that, but he’s exciting.”
The 2019 Victoria Trotters Derby winner hadn’t been seen at the races since March, but finished strongest in an action-packed Active Electrical Trot (2200m) which saw odds-on favourite Imsettogo pulled out of the race early by driver Darby McGuigan.
Starting at the bell, Gath made a sustained run on Majestuoso, who cruised up to sit fourth behind Sammy Showdown and then ran past his rival in the last 100m to score by just over a metre.
The triumph was the first leg of a winning treble for the Gath team, which also produced victories with new stable acquisition Pacifico Dream and then Diamonds N Cash in the last race of the evening. Pacifico Dream was having just his second start for Gath after transferring over from Emma Stewart’s Cardigan team where he won the Group 3 2020 Victoria Sires Classic.
Outside of the racing, a highlight of the night was the appearance of Clayton Tonkin-trained star Ride High, who stepped out for an exhibition run between races four and five.
With Stewart in the sulky, he was led by a galloping pacemaker before rocketing home in an extraordinary last half. The talented five-year-old ran an unofficial 26-second third quarter and 26.7-second fourth quarter, smashing his own track record last 800 metres (53.4 seconds) with a 52.7 half.
The cracking finish was part of a 1:52.2 last mile, the second fastest recorded at the track behind only The Storm Inside’s record 1:51.5 set in the 2019 Lightning Sprint.