Ride High gets a new driver, but not who was expected!

Kate Gath has upstaged some champions of the sport to land the prized drive on Australia’s most exciting pacer Ride High.

Gath, an Inter Dominion-winning driver, has beaten out the likes of Chris Alford, Greg Sugars and others to get the nod from trainers Clayton Tonkin and Emma Stewart. It’s the most sought-after drive in Australasian harness racing.

She replaces Kima Frenning, who has won all five drives on Ride High this campaign, but announced yesterday she was stepping aside from driving to focus on training.

“We’ve gone with Kate. There’s a heap of mutual respect between us, Kate and Andy (Gath) and we know the horse will get well looked after (in his races),” Stewart said.

Tonkin added: “This has been a long and stressful decision with a horse as good as him. We worked through so many options and changed our minds a few times along the way.”

Gath’s first drive on Ride High will be as a $1.08 TAB favourite in the $30,000 Gammalite at Terang on Saturday night, but just around the corner are features like the $50,000 Group 2 Smoken Up Sprint (October 3) and $300,000 Group 1 Victoria Cup a week later. Both races are at Melton.

Ride High winning at Melton with driver Kima Frenning. Picture: Stuart McCormickSource:Supplied

Ride High, $2.10 prepost TAB favourite for the Victoria Cup, is chasing his 16th win from just 17 starts at Terang.

Gath, 37, is no stranger to driving star horses in major races, having won a string of features, including the Inter Dominion trotting final on Tornado Valley.

She’s also won Victoria’s two biggest pacing races, the Hunter Cup on About To Rock in 2006 and the Victoria Cup on Caribbean Blaster in 2012. Both trained by her husband, Andy.

Gath only learned she had the drive when Tonkin called her at 8.30am today.

“It was completely out of the blue and I couldn’t quite believe it,” she said. “I remember when he won at Bendigo (and smashed the track record), Andy and I were the only two people in the grandstand watching and he gave us goosebumps. He’s something else.

“I’d like to thank Clayton, Emma and Peter Gleeson (owner-breeder) for this opportunity.

“I’ve had the privilege of driving some nice horses for them before and I have nothing but respect for the job Emma and Clayton do. I can’t wait to drive him (Ride High) for the first time.”

Originally published asShock driver change for superstar pacer Ride High

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