Is there are a trainer in hotter form at the moment than Mark Gatt? You would certainly have to search far and wide to find one.
The Thirlmere mentor continued his golden run of late after Oaks Road (pictured) dispatched a class field to score a last-bound win in the Sportingbet Megastar (520m) final at Dapto on Thursday night.
And Gatt has warned he doesn’t plan on letting up know, set to launch a two-pronged attack on the NSW National Sprint title with Oaks Road and litter brother Things Missing.
“Things are going well at the moment and hopefully we can just keep rolling,” he said.
“He’ll be there (at the Nationals qualifiers on August 6) and I’ll have his brother there in Things Missing.
The Dapto Greyhound Racing Club’s flagship open-aged event again provided a feather in the cap of the judging panel who were charged with directly seeding five runners into the $25,000-to-the winner final.
Much like the inaugural event in 2010, doubt was cast on the suitability of the eventual winner with Oaks Road the least credentialed of the five automatic entries.
But that counted for little on final night with the 26-month-old son of Spiral Nikita reeling in Vic Peters finalist Mythical Eagle in the shadows of the post to win by half-a-length despite having his first start at the track.
“I thought he might have made the wrong decision on the home turn to come out wide, he probably should have stayed on the fence to go under them and I didn’t think he would get them,” Gatt said.
“But then I just saw him put his head down and knuckle down and he went enormous. I thought the run was really good.”
And what about the selection process which afforded Oaks Road a saloon passage into the event?
“Ability wise I think he can match it with any dog,” Gatt said. “Maybe eyebrows would have been raised because the dog has never been in a Group final, let alone win one.
“Ability wise, that’s why the judges put him in the race because they know the ability the dog has got and he’s repaid their judgement.
“I think it’s a good format and they got some good dogs up here for the race. It’s hard to program the race these days there is that many Group races going on, but they’ve done a good job and got a good field. It just worked out that we came out trumps.”
Queenslander Mr Metz, who dodged lingering fitness concerns to win last year’s event in a nail biter, again demonstrated cheek in guiding the field into the back straight despite a poor draw in box seven.
But with just one 395m scamper to his name in more than nine months, he couldn’t sustain the frenetic pace up front and was swamped over the closing stages to finish fifth.
Oaks Road is a black dog whelped November 2008 by Spiral Nikita from Leprechaun Pace (Brett Lee x Leprechaun Yap) he is raced by Edwin Kingswell and trained by Mark Gatt from Thirlmere in New South Wales. He has raced 18 times for seven wins and eight placings, adding the Megastar Invitation Final’s first prize of $25,000 to his overall stake earnings went to $47,360.
After the placed runners the field finished in the following order 4th More Space ($6.90), 5th Mr. Metz ($7.20), 6th Radley Bale ($2.00) 7th Rose Baby ($56.40) and Street Boss ($24.90).
The first winner of the Megastar Dapto invitational in 2010 was Mr Metz.