Good Things Come In Three For Gatt

A lot has changed for littermates Tennessee Tiger and Shanjo Prince since contesting heats of the Magic Maiden series at Wentworth Park on April 3.

Adam Dobbin

16 July 2019

A lot has changed for littermates Tennessee Tiger (SH Avatar – Jingjing) and Shanjo Prince since contesting heats of the Magic Maiden series at Wentworth Park on April 3.

Tennessee Tiger was badly marred by a rival when and finished a distant last to Silver Heels (on debut) in the $10,000 to-the-winner series while Shanjo Prince qualified for the April 10 semi final round but did not progress to the decider.

At start two, at Temora over 330m, Tennessee Tiger saluted but Shanjo Prince needed another six outings to shed his maiden tag.

Part owner and trainer John Hartley was going away about to embark on a long break with his wife and contacted Mark Gatt – trainer of littermate Ritza Vonnie – to take up where he left off.

“The boys arrived here in terrific order and John considered they’d be best placed closer to Sydney,” Gatt said.

In four starts for Gatt, Tennessee Tiger and Shanjo Prince are unbeaten, with Shanjo Prince registering back-to-back wins at Richmond over 535m while Tennessee Tiger saluted at Richmond (in 30.78 despite missing the kick from box eight) and at Bulli over 515m on Saturday in, windswept arctic-like conditions.

“It’s been a great start, Ritza Vonnie won on the same night as Shanjo Prince at Bulli [in 26.26s over 472m], so the litter won three races in less than 24 hours,” the 2017 Wentworth Park trainers’ premiership winner added.

“The boys are back in at Wenty this week … Shanjo Prince is in on Wednesday and ‘Tiger’ on Saturday. Ritza Vonnie is back at there too, we’re just hoping she can bring her Bulli form to town.

“I really think she’s happier when drawn out wide but, with a little room to move, she’s going to make matters interesting.”

The past six months have been a transitional period for Gatt with new youngsters progressing through an educational phase.

Group 2 Bulli Gold Plate winner Ritza Lenny is well into what should be a successful stud career and many of Gatt’s top grade ‘city’ sprinters are in the twilight of long-term careers.

And, with a deal of expectation, Gatt will soon expose the latent talent of his Ritza Lenny – Ritza Hattie pups.

The winner of 19 races (from just 50 starts) and $240,000, Ritza Hattie has already produced the brilliant but moody Ritza Millie and, following breaking in with Peter Sims in April, the Ritza Lenny’s time to shine is neigh.

“She had six pups in February last year and from what they’ve done, we could not be happier. They’ve only had a few short-course trials since breaking in but we have an excellent comparison to what many of our top graders have done in the past and I just love their attitude.”

Punters will certainly get a run for their money with the Gatt-trained siblings in the few days and another quick-fire treble is well within reach.