Chautauqua is reportedly a picture of health in the lead-up to his maiden international appearance in Sunday’s Group 1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) at Hong Kong’s Sha Tin Racecourse.
Chautauqua has been the stable star for Team Hawkes through his entire racing career so far and has posted a commendable eleven wins and eight minors through twenty-one competitive starts; highlighted by four Group 1 titles.
Co-trainer Michael Hawkes told Racing Ahead the Encosta De Lago gelding has taken well to his time in Hong Kong and is primed for a big performance in the 2016 Chairman’s Sprint Prize.
“He’s done really well,” Hawkes said.
“He’s settled into Hong Kong great. That was probably our only real concern. Obviously with the weather and the humidity, he’s adapted well.
“He’s really started to take shape the last two days and he’s really, really good, we’re very happy.
“On Friday he had a gallop and he didn’t go that quick. With this bloke it’s not about the times, we know he can run times so it’s all about how he does it.
“He just looks phenomenal, he really does. It’s poetry in motion when he actually gets there. He changes strides at the 200m, crouches down and just really wants to go.”
Chautauqua will tackle some of the world’s best short-coursers in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize including the Robert Heathcote-trained Buffering, and Hawkes said it is an honour to be flying the flag for Australian racing.
“He’s been the talking point. The Hong Kong Jockey Club are very happy for him to be here. A lot of people I think are worried about him and are talking about him,” he said.
“It’s a lot different from home. We’ve done it from home and everyone at home saw his last win.
“It’s going to be a tough race here, there’s obviously the Hong Kong horses here and then you’ve got Buffering coming back off a good Dubai win.
“Don’t disregard the Buff either, he’s eight-years-old and he looks magnificent.
“We put a tweet out with Rob and I standing with both horses, that was Rob’s idea and it’s one of those things you cherish.
“We’re flying the Aussie flag, we’ve had dinner a couple of times and went to the races together on Sunday and that’s what it’s about. When you go away, you join together. Hopefully we can do the Aussies proud.”
Ladbrokes.com.au is currently offering the best 2016 Chairman’s Sprint Prize odds, for which Chautauqua figures as outright $2.30 favourite.