The Geelong Cup has again fallen into foreign hands and the grip of the international raiders on this year's Melbourne Cup has grown stronger with the win of Gatewood in the race that shapes the big one.
Thanks to a perfectly executed plan devised in a phone call between jockey Glen Boss and English trainer John Gosden, Gatewood ($3.20 fav) triumphed by a half neck over local runner Chateau Margaux ($10) in the $300,000 Group Three race.
Brigantin ($3.50) held third, a short half-head away in a battle for the minor placings that continued in the stewards room.
Gatewood's win followed those of Americain in 2010 and Dunaden last year, both of whom went on to win the Melbourne Cup.
For Gatewood's owners, the OTI syndicate headed by former Test cricketer Simon O'Donnell and Terry Henderson, the win was the second in four years, their colours having been carried to victory by the English galloper Bauer in 2008.
Bauer went on to finish the closest of seconds in the Melbourne Cup two weeks later and Henderson is looking for an improvement on that result from Gatewood.
Before that can happen, Gatewood needs to have a penalty of at least 1kg added to his Melbourne Cup handicap of 51.5kg.
"It will mean he has to run three times in five weeks which is unusual for a European horse," Henderson said.
Racing Victoria's chief handicapper Greg Carpenter, who will announce any penalty today, says the tempo will make it a difficult race to interpret.
He and his panel will study the sectional times of the race and the form around Gatewood who finished a luckless seventh behind yet another international, Shahwardi, in the Herbert Power Handicap at Caulfield last Saturday week, his Geelong win proving that form sound.
Henderson praised Boss and trainer John Gosden who has won major races on both sides of the Atlantic and in France, including the Epsom Derby and a Breeders' Cup event.
"John and Glen had a good chat last night on the phone and gave each other information on the horse and the race," Henderson said.
"I'm not sure what they said, but I'm looking forward to John being here in person to give instructions in the Cup."
Boss said Gatewood had raced like a true stayer, even though the horse reeled off an astonishing final 600m of 32.09.
"I knew I was breaking 33, it felt fast," Boss said.
The Geelong Cup gave Italian jockey Umberto Rispoli a rough-and-tumble introduction to Australian racing that he believes cost him second place.
Rispoli rode Brigantin into third place and claimed rival jockey Luke Nolen had improperly pushed his mount back into a pocket rounding the home turn. AAP