Swede taste of victory for veteran apprentice

BARRY LICHTER
Last updated 18:08 23/12/2012

Relevant offers

Racing

Zabeel Classic brings emotional first Group One win for Rory Hutchings Big upset as Saavoya wins Eight Carat Classic at Ellerslie Impressive victory doesn't change Paul Richards' plan for Natuzzi Nothing amiss with Pondarosa Miss ahead of weight-for-age Classic Cambridge brothers and new trainers in Cruz control Courage Under Fire gelding is back and playing by his own rules Puccini back on favourite stomping ground at Ellerslie Harness driver Stevie Golding to make hay while sun shines Tough test for record breaking pacer Dalton Bromac at Cambridge Christmas Eve meeting should reward southern trainers

An extra piece of Christmas cake is on the menu for Swedish apprentice Victoria Gatu who celebrated her first winner as a professional rider at Te Rapa yesterday.

Gatu, who at 27 is in the veteran category by comparison to her fellow apprentices, was having her first ride back from a two-week holiday at home in Sweden when she kicked home $35 outsider Bob Valdez in the Video-In- Print 1400.

Gatu has spent most of the past six years overseas, mixing travelling with riding trackwork in Italy and competing as an amateur in Sweden and Spain, where she rode her first winner in 2008.

"I'm getting pretty old now," said Gatu, who 11 months ago answered Te Rapa trainer Chris Wood's online advertisement for a track rider.

"I looked it up on the map and thought New Zealand would be an interesting country to see.

"But I've got a New Zealand boyfriend now so I think I'll be staying put for a while."

Gatu, who trained at the British Riding School, said she was encouraged to take out her apprentice licence by Wood, who believed she would make a good 4kg claimer.

"It was nice to get the win today - I've had quite a few seconds and thirds," said Gatu, who scored at her 29th ride.

Although her mount, five-year-0ld Bob Valdez, was an outsider, Gatu said he had been working well.

"He's a bit of a character, like a grumpy old man. He's the angriest one we have in the stable."

Gatu, who walks at 49kg, and claimed down to 51.5kg yesterday, said she would be able to enjoy her Christmas dinner without fear of getting overweight like most of her fellow riders.

Ad Feedback

- Sunday Star Times

Special offers
Opinion poll

How did you fare with your Melbourne Cup punting?

Nailed it, Protectionist you beauty

Not all bad, a nice little profit

Good and bad, I came out about even

Lost a little, but it could be worse

Crashed and burned, there's always next year though

Vote Result

Related story: (See story)

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content