Five months of planning paid off for New South Wales trainer Mark Gatt when his outstanding youngster Ritza Hattie claimed the Group 2 Macro Meats Laurels at Sandown Park tonight.
The fastest semi final winner was sent to the boxes a $2.50 favourite and gave favourite punters little cause for concern after springing to the lead before maintaining her advantage to claim a 1½ length win in 29.43 seconds. Maximum Lil tracked Ritza Hattie through the first turn and chased gallantly for second, while Rinoa Bale finished third a further 3½ lengths adrift.
“We had it (the Macro Meats Laurels) in the back of our mind following her maiden win in July,” said Daniel Gatt, trainer Mark’s brother and Ritza Hattie’s handler in the final.
“After her wins at Wentworth Park in November we decided to have a crack. It’s a great feeling winning a race like this, but it’s even more satisfying when a plan pays off like this. It’s very satisfying.”
Gatt sent Ritza Hattie to Melbourne Cup winning trainer Paul Bartolo for her Victorian campaign and the daughter of Bombastic Shiraz took an immediate liking to Sandown Park.
“She usually improves after a few looks at a track, so for her to trial the way she did (running 29.40) was bit of a surprise.
“She had excuses in her heat and I think the bitch that ran her down (Liara Allen) will become a really good stayer. But she bounced back well in her semi final last week and put it all together really well tonight.”
Having spent a month south of the border, Ritza Hattie will now head home for a Group 1 National Futurity campaign in late January. However her love of Sandown Park will see her return to the View Road circuit soon.
“She loves Sandown so we’ll be back as soon as the right race comes up.”
The daughter of Hall of Fame sire Bombastic Shiraz has never missed a place in her 19 career starts – winning 12 – and the $50,000 first prize took her prizemoney beyond $107,000.
Click here for full results of the Group 2 Macro Meats Laurels