Connections of five-time Group 1 winning international performer Chautauqua have ruled out a bid in Japan this year for the star sprinter who is set to resume racing down under in September’s Moir Stakes 2016.
The Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes-trained son of Encosta De Lago was last seen winning Hong Kong’s Group 1 Chairman’s Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin on May 1.
That was the rising six-year-old’s fifth elite level success and took Chautauqua’s total career winnings up over $6.5 million.
He had previous won the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) in Sydney as well as the Group 1 Lighting Stakes (1200m) in Melbourne during a lucrative autumn campaign.
The champion’s other top level victories came in the 2015 TJ Smith Stakes and last October’s Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley Racecourse.
Moonee Valley is also where he is set to kick off his Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival bid this season with the $450,000 Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m) on September 30 pencilled in as a first-up run, ruling him out of a shot at the Global Sprint Challenge bonus in Japan.
A run in the Sprinters Stakes run at Japan on October 2 would give Chautauqua a shot at the US$1 million bonus, but the team is keen to keep him in Australia before a return to Hong Kong in December according to owner Rupert Legh.
“At this stage Plan A – and Plan A can change all the time – is we’ve elected to go Moir, Manikato, Darley, Hong Kong,” Legh told Racing Victoria.
“We’re going to leave him in Australia (this spring). He’s an Australian horse, so we’ll let the Australian public enjoy a great racehorse.”
Following the Moir Stakes, Chautauqua will defend his Manikato Stakes title under the lights on the Friday night before Cox Plate Day.
The last horse to go back-to-back in the Manikato Stakes was Spark Of Life (2004-05).
He will then look to improve on his second to Delectation at Flemington Racecourse on Emirates Stakes Day in early November in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) from last spring when going down as the beaten odds-on favourite last Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Chautauqua also ran second in the 2014 Darley Classic behind Terravista.
This year’s Darley Classic will be his final run down under before heading overseas again for a shot at the Hong Kong Sprint on International Day at Sha Tin in December.
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