The world’s best sprinter Chautauqua recorded one of Sydney and Australian racing’s greatest turf triumphs at Royal Randwick in the TJ Smith Stakes 2017 becoming the first three-time winner of the country’s richest 1200m race.
There had been doubters all week over whether or not the Team Hawkes-trained champion had lost his former blistering speed, but the ‘Grey Flash’ proved that certainly wasn’t the case with an incredible last-to-first victory in the $2.5 million Group 1 Darley TJ Smith Stakes (1200m).
“This horse just defies everything,” co-trainer Michael Hawkes said post-win.
“This horse is the King and always has been.
“He’s a superstar.”
Last Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival the son of Encosta De Lago successfully defended his TJ Smith Stakes title on the back of a third in the Newmarket Handicap.
His lead-up into an historic third straight TJ Smith Stakes victory this time in however was far more unconventional.
The stable had considered stepping him out over 1600m for the Doncaster Mile after his first-up third as the beaten favourite in the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) in Melbourne.
Chautauqua, now a winner of over $8 million in prize money, then ran second to Le Romain in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Randwick and third last time out to the world’s top mare Winx in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) on a Heavy (10).
The call was made by Hawkes Racing however to drop the horse back to 1200m for the TJ Smith Stakes and the rest is history.
Chautauqua was unwanted in TJ Smith Stakes betting easing out to a $6.50 starting price at Ladbrokes.com.au by the jump.
Ridden by Tommy Berry, in the saddle for his two other TJ Smith Stakes wins in 2015 and 2016, the dual defending champ dropped straight back to last in running as the short-priced favourite Russian Revolution led them around.
The Team Snowden-trained three-year-old led from Matthew Dale’s Fell Swoop, second to Chautauqua in last year’s TJ Smith Stakes results, while the Gai Waterhouse-trained mare English was also up in the pace running fourth.
At the top of the straight Berry and Chautauqua were still trailing the entire field, looking caught up for a run and needing a miracle to make up the ground.
Last year’s third placegetter English meanwhile was lifting and let down to hit the front with 250m left to travel.
She looked the winner before history was made, Chautauqua flashing right down the outside in a phenomenal effort to beat home English and Fell Swoop – the same three horses past the post in last autumn’s TJ Smith Stakes trifecta.
Chautauqua is now being hailed as the best sprinter since Black Caviar and one of the all-time greats.
“I just rode him to instruction and rode him with confidence,” Berry said.
“He’s the best sprinter in the world, how could you pot him over this distance?
“I was rattling through the pack and it was a glimpse of last year with English up front, but my bloke hadn’t even let down yet.
“He’s a special horse to me that’s for sure.”
Now is the perfect time to discover the benefits of betting online with Ladbrokes.com.au this Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival with Day 2 of ‘The Championships’ to run on April 8.
2017 TJ Smith Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Randwick Race 8 – 01/04/2017
|1||1||CHAUTAUQUA||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Tommy Berry||–||11||58.5kg||$5.50|
|2||12||ENGLISH||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Blake Shinn||0.2L||1||56.5kg||$12|
|3||6||FELL SWOOP||Matthew Dale||Joao Moreira||1.5L||6||58.5kg||$21|
|4||11||TIVACI||Michael Moroney||Damien Oliver||3.3L||9||58.5kg||$31|
|5||8||VOODOO LAD||Darren Weir||Damian Lane||3.7L||3||58.5kg||$11|
|6||14||RUSSIAN REVOLUTION||Peter & Paul Snowden||Kerrin McEvoy||5.2L||10||56.5kg||$3.40F|
|7||2||MALAGUERRA||Peter Gelagotis||Ben Melham||5.7L||7||58.5kg||$11|
|8||15||DERRYN||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Regan Bayliss||6L||14||56.5kg||$51|
|9||4||REBEL DANE||Gary Portelli||Craig Williams||6.4L||15||58.5kg||$51|
|10||7||SPIETH (NZ)||Bryce Heys||Hugh Bowman||7.4L||13||58.5kg||$9|
|11||5||JAPONISME||Chris Waller||Glyn Schofield||8.3L||5||58.5kg||$41|
|12||10||TARGET IN SIGHT||Joseph Pride||Brenton Avdulla||9.7L||2||58.5kg||$41|
|13||13||ASTERN||John O’Shea||James Doyle||10L||4||56.5kg||$7|
|14||9||ROCK MAGIC||Chris Gangemi||Jarrad Noske||12.5L||8||58.5kg||$41|
|15||3||TERRAVISTA||Joseph Pride||Corey Brown||16L||12||58.5kg||$41|