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The 2015 Newmarket Handicap at Flemington Racecourse in mid-March is confirmed as a Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival target for the Hawkes Racing-trained sprint star Chautauqua.
The Encosta De Lago four-year-old will be kept on a separate path early during the autumn from his undefeated stablemate Deep Field at all costs according to co-trainer Wayne Hawkes.
For Deep Field, a winner of five-from-five who is likely to be retired to stud at the end of this coming campaign, his most likely first-up option is the $400,000 Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on February 21.
For Chautauqua, who has won four of his 10 starts including the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) down the Flemington straight last October by four lengths, he’ll be set for the $1 million Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) on March 14.
“He’s back in the stable and he’s in Melbourne and he’s looking good getting ready for a nice autumn and a race like the Newmarket will be right up his ally,” Hawkes told RSN’s Racing Ahead program.
There is a chance the two will come head-to-head in April however with the richest of the $2.5 million Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on the fourth calling all the country’s top class sprinters.
Chautauqua purposely had a very light spring that ended with a second when beaten only a neck by the Joe Pride-trainer Terravista in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) on November 8.
“We were very easy on him in the spring, he only had a couple of runs in the spring which everyone saw and he only missed by the proverbial bee’s you-know-what in the Group 1 (Darley Classic),” Hawkes said.
“As Dad (Hall of Fame trainer John Hawkes) said he did everything bar win the prize.”
His trainers are hoping then that pays off in the autumn with plenty of riches on offer in both Sydney and Melbourne over the coming months.
Chautauqua currently occupies the second line of the pre-nomination TJ Smith Stakes betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au paying $5 behind Terravista ($4.60), while his stablemate Deep Field is the third favourite at $6 just ahead of Lankan Rupee ($8).
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