Boom sprinter Chautauqua, who is fast becoming known as the best current sprint horse in Australia, will face his biggest challenge in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington tomorrow.
The four-year-old gelding has run just nine career starts, a blip compared to older rivals such as defending champion Buffering (44) or Moment Of Change (25), but after two explosive wins down the straight from his last starts his hoop Dwayne Dunn is confident he’s ready for the 2014 Darley Classic.
Chautauqua is firm favourite to win the Stakes Day supporting race tomorrow, offering odds of $2.30 in the Ladbrokes.com.au betting market.
Dunn noted the race has attracted a field full of high quality sprinters, including Australian Race Horse of the Year Lankan Rupee ($5.50), defending champion Buffering ($14), and Irish champion Slade Power ($6) who is a winner of two Group Ones in the UK.
However he is confident Chautauqua can step up to the challenge.
“It’s his biggest challenge,” Dunn said via TVN.
“He’s got to step up to the plate. Coming through the grades is one thing, but the step up to a Group 1 is another.
“He’s showed he should be able to do it, but until he does it we won’t know, but from what he’s shown us we know what an effective horse he is down the straight.
“I’d expect him to be very competitive.”
Chautauqua won both the Group 3 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) and Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) down the straight. In the Bobbie Lewis, the gelding took cover at the start before trailing up the outside division. Once he hit the front he roared away in a very impressive effort for an explosive 2½ length win.
As if he couldn’t improve upon that, Chautauqua won the Gilgai Stakes by four lengths. He left the gates well enough off the inside but took cover off those around him. He was trotting to the 300m and won with ease.
The biggest test for Chautauqua in the Darley Classic 2014 looks to be his age. The race is largely considered one for older, seasoned sprinters with 4YOs only winning twice in the last 12 years. Yet the punters believe he can break that stigma.
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