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Gatewood gets Chipping Norton Stakes nod
Mandy Cottell
06:50 AEST Fri Mar 8 2013

As the owner of one of six Chris Waller hopefuls in Saturday's Chipping Norton Stakes, Terry Henderson isn't sure where Gatewood sits in the premier trainer's pecking order.

But he does knows where the import sits in his own.

Henderson's OTI Syndicate will be represented in Saturday's Group One at Warwick Farm by $23 chance Gatewood and $5 favourite Manighar.

But surprisingly, Henderson is more upbeat about the chances of his outsider.

"Gatewood is the sleeper," Henderson said.

"He is probably a better bet than Manighar."

A European import, Gatewood made his debut for Waller with an even sixth in the Apollo Stakes run on a bog track.

He is undefeated second-up and while he is yet to win over a distance much less than 2000m, he wouldn't be the first import to become sharper under Australian training conditions.

Glyn Schofield takes over from Jason Collett in Saturday's 1600m contest and reports on Gatewood's lead-up work have been positive.

"His work on Tuesday, Chris described as his best since he's been with him," Henderson said.

"I'm getting good vibes. Chris is in the situation where he's got six horses in the race so it's hard for him to make judgments between his horses.

"But I wouldn't be surprised to see Gatewood run into the money."

Henderson is also optimistic about the long-term Sydney carnival prospects of Manighar whose spring was prematurely ended by a minor knee complaint.

The Peter Moody-trained gelding was a revelation last autumn when he won the Group One treble of the Australian Cup, Ranvet Stakes and BMW.

He began that campaign with a first-up win over 1600m in Melbourne but Henderson said the conditions of that race were very different to the Chipping Norton.

"It's hard to say if he will come up first time like he did last time," Henderson said.

"Last time it was a mile race at set weights and penalties and this time he is straight into a Group One at weight-for-age.

"He is extremely well and his work has been just as good but there is nothing like match fitness.

"The sort of run he gets from that draw (14) on Saturday will probably tell the tale."