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The Canterbury Stakes 2017 could serve as the first lead-up into new racing territory for champion galloper Chautauqua who may be extended out to 1600m for the first time this Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
A five-time Group 1 winning sprinter, the Team Hawkes-trained Chautauqua is one of 11 early entries taken by Racing NSW for this Saturday’s $500,000 Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) on Randwick Guineas Day.
Nominations for the Royal Randwick weight-for-age clash have been extended until 11:00am (AEDT) on Tuesday, but all-in Canterbury Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au on the original entries are led by Encosta De Lago six-year-old Chautauqua ($2.50).
Before coming back on February 11 at Caulfield for a first-up third to Super Cash in the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m), plans for the $6.5 million earner were to target a third straight win in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) during this April’s The Championships in Sydney.
Chautauqua didn’t produce his usual late closing speed in the Rubiton however and looked to be wanting more distance, a theory the Hawkes stable will test out starting on Saturday.
Earlier in his career the international Group 1 winner enjoyed a 1400m win in the 2014 Hawkesbury Guineas, but he hasn’t raced over further than 1200m since a third to Dissident in the 2015 All Aged Stakes.
Despite that, Chautauqua was a late entry for the $3 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) to run on April 1 at Randwick.
He will have his first step towards that possible mile assignment in the Canterbury Stakes, which offers a Doncaster Mile ballot exemption to the winner.
Hawkes Racing prepared back-to-back Canterbury Stakes winners with Malcolm (2007) and Mentality (2008) when the race ran at Rosehill and Canterbury racecourses respectively.
Co-trainer and Hall of Fame inductee John Hawkes also won the race with Paratroopers (2006) and Yell (2004) and so Chautauqua is his chance at a fifth win.
Second favourite in all-in Canterbury Stakes betting behind Chautauqua this autumn at $3.50 is Bjorn Baker’s last start Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) winner in late January Music Magnate.
The five-year-old son of Written Tycoon won last winter’s Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) over a similar distance and since the Expressway Stakes success as the odds-on favourite he has won a Gosford trial by over 3 lengths.
The bookmakers are also taking no early chances with Le Romain ($6), Ugo Foscolo ($6) and Impending ($7) who are the other pre-field single-figure fancies.
Newcastle’s Kris Lees prepares Cantala Stakes winner Le Romain who has strong Randwick form (7-3-3-0) including his first-up win in the Group 3 Southern Cross Stakes (1200m) on February 13.
Ugo Foscolo if accepted into the Canterbury Stakes field will be out to be the third three-year-old winner of the race in the past five years and the second on the trot after the success of Holler (2016) last autumn.
Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott prepare the promising young Kiwi expat who won the Group 1 NZ 2000 Guineas (1600m) last start ahead of his Australian race debut.
He is five-from-six back in New Zealand to date and comes off back-to-back Warwick Farm trials including a tearaway seven length win over 1200m on February 20.
Impending meanwhile represents last year’s Canterbury Stakes winning trainer John O’Shea and the Godolphin stable, the fellow three-year-old out to atone for his sixth in the Southern Cross Stakes first-up.
See below for the current Canterbury Stakes 2017 nominations before heading to Ladbrokes.com.au to take advantage of their generous early odds set to firm when the field is released on Wednesday.
2017 Canterbury Stakes Nominations
Randwick Racecourse – 04/03/2917
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Hcp. Rating|
|1||x1311x47x3||CHAUTAUQUA||G||6||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||119|
|2||1117×232||ECHO EFFECT||G||3||Kristen Buchanan||82|
|3||523x56469x||HAPPY CLAPPER||G||6||Patrick Webster||107|
|5||22x41670x9||HEAVENS ABOVE||M||5||Tim Martin||103|
|8||17x22251x1||LE ROMAIN||G||4||Kris Lees||113|
|9||311x1210x1||MUSIC MAGNATE (NZ)||G||5||Bjorn Baker||108|
|10||250×215242||TOO GOOD TO REFUSE||H||4||Desleigh Forster||95|
|11||11x1611x||UGO FOSCOLO (NZ)||G||3||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||103|
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