Chautauqua may be nominated for the Group 3 Maurice McCarten Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill this Saturday but it’s nothing more than a safeguard.
The four-year-old gelding is in Melbourne and will tackle the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington, which is good news for punters considering he is the $2.80 early favourite in the betting at Ladbrokes.com.au.
22 sprinters are nominated for the $1 million feature race, keen to tackle the straight track at Flemington, which can hold up to 24 runners.
Chautauqua will be ridden by usual jockey Dwayne Dunn, who rode the gelding to success in the Group 3 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) and Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) during the spring before finishing second in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) on November 8, splitting the world’s joint highest-rated sprinters Terravista and Lankan Rupee.
The three elite sprinters will all go head-to-head in the 2015 Newmarket Handicap this Saturday. While Chautauqua may not have a Group One title (yet) like his rivals, he will have a weight advantage against his rivals.
Lankan Rupee will carry the top weight of 58.5kg after winning his fifth Group One race in the Lightning Stakes (1000m) on February 21, Terravista will carry 56.5kg after winning the Darley Classic, and Chautauqua will carry 55.5kg.
Dunn for one is excited about the clash.
“I’m looking forward to it. This is a real match race now, isn’t it?” Dunn told Sky Racing.
“Three kingpin horses clash and someone is going to come out a victor.
“Lankan Rupee was awesome the other day so you’ve got to respect him.
“We do meet them a bit better at the weights from the Darley Classic but they have done it and he hasn’t quite done it yet, so he deserves a little bit of a bonus for not being a Group One winner yet. But it’s only a matter of time.”
Chautauqua had his first-up run in the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) on February 14, hitting the lead 50 metres out for a narrow but impressive win.
“He wasn’t ready the other day and he overcame adversity and was still good enough to win,” Dunn said.
“He had another jump-out on Friday, so he’s had that race and a jump-out for fitness so he should be ready to go on Saturday.”
Dunn is up for the 2015 Newmarket Handicap challenge and believes Chautauqua is in with a real chance at winning his first Group One race this Saturday, which punters clearly agree with.
Following Chautauqua in the betting at Ladbrokes.com.au are Lankan Rupee ($3), Terravista ($4.60), and Brazen Beau ($4.80).
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