2015 Hong Kong Sprint Very Likely for Chautauqua

Chautauqua’s prospects of contesting the 2015 Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) in December took a blow when he placed second in the Darley Classic a fortnight ago, however co-trainer Wayne Hawkes has revealed the popular gelding remains a 90% chance of the trip to Sha Tin Racecourse.

Chautauqua's chances of contesting the 2015 Hong Kong Sprint are back on track. Photo: Ultimate Racing Photos

Chautauqua’s chances of contesting the 2015 Hong Kong Sprint are back on track. Photo: Ultimate Racing Photos

Chautauqua has undoubtedly been the stable star for Team Hawkes through the last 12 months and returned this time for consecutive wins in the Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m) and Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) before posting a second win at the highest level in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m), in what was his only other start prior to the Darley Classic.

Having revealed plans for the 2015 Hong Kong Sprint were on hold after failing to make up the distance of Darley Classic winner Delectation on October 31st, Hawkes told Racing Ahead the call of international Group 1 glory with a serious sprinting prospect is too great to ignore.

“One thing we can often be criticised for is saying, ‘We’re not sure, we don’t know’,” Hawkes said.

“We want to go and win. We want to tick every box.

“We’re giving up Newmarket Handicaps, Lightning Stakes’ … they’re big calls and you’re trying to make the right decisions.”

Posting nine wins and a further seven minors through eighteen career starts so far, Chautauqua stamped himself as one to watch immediately upon debuting to racing in the late stages of the 2013 Spring Carnival.

Making a successful transition to black type racing through the 2014 Autumn Carnival, the Encosta De Lago gelding returned to racing in spring for wins in each of the Group 3 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) and Gilgai Stakes before running second to Terravista in the Darley Classic (1200m).

Posting an impressive win in the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) first-up this year, Chautauqua progressed to second in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) before posting his maiden win at the highest level in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) on Day 1 of The Championships.

Ladbrokes.com.au is currently offering the best early 2015 Hong Kong Sprint odds, for which Chautauqua remains clear $1.95 favourite for success ahead of leading local Gold-Fun ($4).

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