Following back-to-back wins at the track and distance the Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes-trained Chautauqua has opened the short priced favourite to keep the good times rolling in Saturday’s 2014 Darley Classic.
The Encosta De Lago four-year-old is one of 13 sprinters making up the field for this year’s $1 million Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m), which runs as Flemington Race 6 on Emirates Stakes Day.
Drawn in barrier three with Dwayne Dunn to ride, Chautauqua is an up-and-comer who is undefeated at Flemington and boasts an excellent 1200m record (6-2-3-0).
Two back the Hawkesbury Guineas winner from May won the Group 3 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) defeating Group 1 winner Temple Of Boom, a $51 outsider for the Darley Classic this weekend, by two and a half lengths.
Last start on October 4 he returned to Flemington and thrived again this time blitzing his closest rival by four lengths, Dunn aboard again, for the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes win.
While it’s been a month between runs, the bookies are tipping this grey galloper to continue the good form with Chautauqua sitting top of the Darley Classic odds at Ladbrokes.com.au paying $2.30.
There are then just two other single figure chances in the markets with four-time Group 1 winner Lankan Rupee ($5) and European raider Slade Power ($7.50) in his first and only run down under.
Drawn wide in barrier 11 with Chad Schofield to ride, Mick Price’s former world’s highest rated sprinter Lankan Rupee comes off a narrow in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley, the field for which featured the bulk of Saturday’s Emirates Stakes field.
The ultra-consistent son of Redoute’s Choice improved on a Group 1 Moir Stakes second at the same track and distance behind last year’s Darley Classic winner Buffering to win the Manikato, his fourth elite level, by a nose.
Slade Power meanwhile is without a previous start in Australia, Edward Lynam’s known barrier rouge due to jump in barrier four chasing a Global Sprint Challenge bonus before retiring to stud.
The Dutch Art stallion’s last two starts were during our winter in the UK when scoring the Diamond Jubliee – July Cup double over the 1200m with big weights.
Outside the top three in Darley Classic betting are then a host of other credible chances at generous odds including last year’s champ Buffering and Terravista both at $14.
Buffering won from the rails last year and will get the same run here with regular rider Damian Browne aboard, Rob Heathcote’s Mossman seven-year-old beaten only 0.6 lengths away seventh when caught up in the Manikato.
Terravista was also brave in defeat in the Manikato with the Joe Pride-trained gelding, a winner of eight of his 12 starts to date, running under half a length away fifth.
That followed from back-to-back Group wins in Sydney at Randwick including the Group 2 The Shorts (1100m) over I’m All The Talk (2nd) and Famous Seamus (3rd), the latter a $19 chance for the weekend.
The only other runner under $20 is then Rebel Dane ($17) with Craig Williams to ride from barrier eight.
A former Group 1 winner the now five-year-old was third to Buffering in the Moir Stakes and fourth in the Manikato, nice odds then for him to run top three again here in his third run at Flemington.
See below for the full Darley Classic 2014 odds, betting markets open online at Ladbrokes.com.au who are also offering their $3 million Megapick again on the weekend!