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Wet weather in Sydney forced a delay to the first-up run of Winx last month and now it could also open up a possible clash between the mighty mare and super sprinter Chautauqua in the 2017 George Ryder Stakes.
Chris Waller’s champion daughter of Street Cry posted her tenth career Group 1 win and her fifteenth straight turf triumph last weekend in the wet taking out Randwick’s Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m).
She will next race at Rosehill Gardens on Golden Slipper Stakes Day, Saturday March 18, in the $1 million Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m).
That has always been the plan for the five-year-old who will then bring her autumn to an end on April 8 back at Randwick in the $4 million Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m).
While Waller has always had the exact autumn campaign for Winx on the table, plans for the Team Hawkes-trained Chautauqua took a drastic turn after his resuming run.
The five-time Group 1 winning son of Encosta De Lago failed to produce his usual scintillating late burst when third past the post behind Super Cash in Caulfield’s Group 1 Rubiton Stakes (1100m).
The latest win by the six-year-old was overseas in Hong Kong’s Group 1 Chairman’s Sprint (1200m) in May of 2016.
After the Rubiton, Hawkes Racing said the run by their great grey indicated Chautauqua was looking for further distance and connections paid a late entry for the horse in the $3 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) during The Championships.
Chautauqua is accepted for his second-up run towards that possible spot in the Doncaster Mile field 2017 this Saturday as one of eight runners in the $500,000 Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) on Randwick Guineas Day.
Consistent rainfall in Sydney had the course proper at Randwick rated a Heavy (9) on Wednesday.
Chautauqua has had one run on Heavy going before back in April of 2014 finishing second in that year’s Gosford Guineas.
His Soft track form is good including winning back-to-back editions of Randwick’s Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (12000m) in 2015 and 2016 on rain-affected tracks.
Despite indications the horse goes well in the wet, the stable are considering scratching Chautauqua from Saturday’s Canterbury Stakes field.
Currently he sits as the $2.70 favourite in Canterbury Stakes betting at Ladbrokes.com.au followed in the markets by the rails-drawn Expressway Stakes winner last start Music Magnate ($3.80).
With Wednesday’s Warwick Farm meeting abandoned due to the weather and deteriorating track conditions, concerns have arisen about Randwick this weekend.
If the racing is abandoned or if Chautauqua is scratched from the Canterbury Stakes, where he races next is up in the air.
On Tuesday he was allocated the 58kg top-weight for the $1.25 million Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on ‘Super Saturday’, March 11.
He is at $8 in pre-field Newmarket Handicap betting, despite being an unlikely final acceptor for the straight track sprint that he ran third to The Quarterback in last year carrying the same kilos.
“That weight makes it really enticing to win a Newmarket,” Chautauqua’s managing owner Rupert Legh told Racing Ahead on Tuesday.
“Chautauqua hasn’t won one yet but has gone very close.
“It’s a difficult decision but going north to the 1300 metres of the Canterbury Stakes opens up a lot more options for us because it tells us a bit more about the horse.”
A shot at a third TJ Smith Stakes in April is also still being considered.
Legh said that if he stayed in the field and ran well on a Heavy track in the Canterbury Stakes that he could be stepped up in distance again and could take on Winx in the George Ryder Stakes.
To back Chautauqua next race and throughout his up-in-the-air autumn campaign at the right price head to Ladbrokes.com.au today.
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