As a yearling, Gatting was nothing special, in fact Impressive Racing struggled to sell shares in him and even donated a percentage in a charity auction to get owners involved.
Full of quirks and strong traits, former trainer Darren McAuliffe was forced to design a “Darth Vader” mask early in his career following a float incident on the way to the races where he ended up fracturing his skull.
Despite all his quirks and the extra work that was required to keep him happy, healthy and safe, the team learnt quickly he had plenty of toughness and courage which he demonstrated every race day.
The well-named gelding by Hard Spun won his maiden at his second start at Northam over 1100m and in the same preparation won the Listed Melvista Stakes (2200m) and the Group 2 WATC Derby (2400m) at his 11th run of a long campaign.
WATCH: Gatting win the WATC Derby
From there he continued to show his versatility winning from 1400m to 2200m and being competitive through the Ascot Spring Carnival including placings in the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) and the Group 2 Van Heemst Stakes (2100m).
It was in the Spring of 2019 that Gatting made a name for himself and his trainer nationally with the boil over of the season in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes at $101.
The remainder of the spring did not go to plan and Gatting was sent home to get ready for the Ascot Carnival where he placed in the Group 2 Lee Steere Stakes and the Group 2 Van Heemst Stakes for a second time.
Transferred to Peter Moody for a Melbourne Spring campaign this season, Gatting failed to beat a runner home in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes and then sadly fractured his shoulder in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes and had to be humanely euthanised.
Tributes flowed for the tenacious and courageous runner from the west, including a voice message to the owners from Moody.
“He was a quirky old bugger, but he was hard not to get attached too,” Moody said.
“Some of his quirky habits would test your patience at times, but then you’d walk past and he’d stick his head out for a pat every time you walked past.”
McAuliffe and his wife Emma were quick to thank everyone who had reached out to them via social media.
“We are absolutely devastated,” she wrote on Facebook.
“Cranky was one in a million. A little horse with such a huge heart and personality to match.
“He will be sorely missed and will always hold a special place in our hearts.”
Gatting fell just one short of 50 starts, finishing with 11 victories, 14 placings and earning over $2 million in prize money and will be missed by all of his owners, trainers and staff.