Standout sprinter Chautauqua broke through for a maiden victory at the highest level in the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) on Day 1 of The Championships and is primed for continued success in Saturday’s featured Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m), according to co-trainer Michael Hawkes.
Chautauqua returned to racing for an impressive win in the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) on February 14th; progressing to a credible second behind runaway winning Brazen Beau in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) leading into his T.J. Smith Stakes triumph.
Having won the Group 3 Hawkesbury Guineas over 1400m during the 2014 Autumn Carnival, Hawkes told Racing Ahead the Encosta De Lago gelding has progressed well from his recent victory and is sure to perform to a high standard no matter the conditions of the Randwick track on Saturday.
“He came through really well,” Hawkes said.
“What he did he probably shouldn’t have done – no horse probably should have done that. Where he was and I suppose track bias and everything like that just proved how good a horse he really, really is.
“He came through that well, he’s continued to please and it’s going to be a cracker race come Saturday. We’re looking forward to it.
“Wet or dry, he handles both but I think with the rain that’s been about and obviously Saturday’s track was a heavy … honestly you want dry tracks so it’s a fair, level playing field – obviously with wet tracks it bring a lot of horses out of contention.
“So long as he’s going into the race at 110%, that’s all that matters.”
Finding exceptional form over the 2014 Spring Carnival, Chautauqua won each of the Group 3 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) and Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) at a jog before placing a close second to Terravista in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) on November 8th.
Included amongst a talented field of 18 in 2015 All Aged Stakes nominations on Monday, Chautauqua is set to be confirmed in a final field of 14 for Saturday’s Randwick feature race by midday, Wednesday.
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