Gatu makes her mark in Rotorua Cup

Viktoria Gatu guiding Pacorus to a commanding win in today's Rotorua Cup.

Viktoria Gatu guiding Pacorus to a commanding win in today’s Rotorua Cup.

Viktoria Gatu celebrated another milestone in her riding career when she guided her stable favourite Pacorus to victory in today’s Gr.3 $75,000 Campbell Infrastructure Rotorua Cup.

The Cambridge-based rider completed her apprenticeship with trainer Chris Wood in early April, but continues to be attached to the stable and was rewarded for her efforts with her second black-type success.

Gatu’s first black-type win was also a milestone occasion she will never forget as it came when landing her 50th win, aboard Admiral Listed $50,000 Haunui Farm Karaka Classic at Pukekohe last September.

Not surprisingly, Swedish-born Gatu showed her delight with today’s win as she passed the winning post two and a quarter lengths clear of the Ben Ropiha-trained Doiknowyou. It had been 139 days since her last win and today’s success was her most important and first as a fully-fledged jockey.

Gatu has been aboard Pacorus in 19 of his 28 starts, including his last 14 appearances, and she has been responsible for all bar one of his eight wins. The successful rider in Pacorus’ maiden win at Matamata in January last year was Mark Hills.

Wood was quick to praise Gatu after today’s feature win and urge other trainers to support the under-rated rider.

“This is a great result for Viktoria, who’s just come out of her time,” he said. “She went well on this horse through the winter last year and deserved the opportunity. This horse runs for her. She loves this horse and the horse loves her.”

Gatu’s successful association with Pacorus began at New Plymouth 12 months ago and two starts later the pair began a winning streak at Tauranga. Success at Te Rapa and in the Interprovincial 1600 at New Plymouth followed, then two starts after the New Plymouth victory they won the Mitchelson Cup at Ellerslie followed by the Egmont Cup.

The Egmont Cup was Pacorus’ last win until today with five starts between times gathering a couple of fourths, the most recent two starts ago in the Listed Hawke’s Bay Gold Cup.

“He had a few little niggles,” said Wood. “I had a lady (equine chiropractor) from Australia come over and put his back into place.

“I was happy leading into the race. He was coming in fresh but he’s a clean-winded horse so that didn’t worry me.”

Gatu gave Pacorus every opportunity today, bouncing him out to dispute the early pace and keep in touch with the leader throughout.

She improved him at the 800 metres and had him challenging the leader Maygrove across the top and in front on straightening.

While Pacorus kicked away to win well, Doiknowyou fought well for second, while the Ralph Manning-trained stablemates Wanabefamous and Pump Up The Volume performed creditably when filling the next two placings and Maygrove completed a clean sweep of the first five placings for Cambridge when fifth.

Wood will now consider a start in the Listed Wanganui Cup on June 3 as the next mission for Pacorus.

“I’ve just got to be careful how quickly he climbs up the weights here in New Zealand,” he said.