Gatt is targeting three major races for his superstar chaser this year.
“After the Paws Of Thunder this week, I will look at the Group One Australia Cup and then the Group One Golden Easter Egg,” he said. ”I don’t want to push her and if she can go well in those races it might be time to start looking at her breeding career off the track.”
After finishing second to Zipping Willow in a Gosford Gold Cup heat, Gatt knew his bitch faced a tough task in the final on Friday night, with Zipping Willow, a short-priced favourite, exiting from box one.
“I knew Zipping Willow was going to be very hard to beat from box one,” he said. ”Ritza Hattie likes to cut [across] and that’s what worried me a bit having box eight, but the seven ended up giving her a nice cart across, which was great.”
The Nowra track record holder was third in the back straight behind early leader Jewel Action and fast finisher Rue De Kahn.
Gatt has only just regained full use of his vocal cords, which got a major workout during the race.
“I had a croaky voice for ages and it’s only just starting to come good today,” he said. ”Once she started to get closer I started yelling and got really excited.
“She’s been hitting the line really well lately, so I thought she was a good chance once she got into third place.”
The daughter of Bombastic Shiraz and Gatt’s highly successful broodbitch Midnight Flare loomed up on the outside of Dean Swain’s Rue De Kahn, saluting by a length at the finish in a flying time of 29.58.
Ritza Hattie burst on to the scene after a flying 26.28 performance trial at Bulli over 472m. This promising youngster finished second in her debut start at the track with Gatt deciding to head north to The Gardens and contest the Group Three Laurie Healion Memorial Maiden over 515m. After coming up with box one, Ritza Hattie blew away her heat rivals by 11 lengths and recorded a sizzling 29.41. Her semi-final performance was equally impressive, scoring by two lengths in 29.61, but unfortunately, after finding trouble at the start in the final, she was defeated by Premier Mozz by a neck.
The 28kg bitch would elevate her status in the following weeks at Nowra, winning the Nowra Puppy Classic Final in a track record time of 29.53.
Ritza Hattie’s first interstate trip occurred in December 2013, where she saluted in the Group Two Laurels Final, with Gatt collecting a cool $50,000 for his efforts.
After returning home, she came fourth in the Group One National Futurity at The Gardens, before finishing runner-up in the Group Three Ladies Bracelet Final at Wentworth Park behind Zipping Willow.
In September, after being invited as a finalist in the Group One Dapto Megastar Final, Ritza Hattie put in a brave effort to finish just a quarter of a length behind Tommy Brislane. She met Tommy Brislane again in the final of the Group Two Spring Sprint two weeks later and placed third.