Rob Heathcote’s special little filly Startantes...
Co-trainer Michael Hawkes is thrilled with the condition of champion sprinter Chautauqua ahead of his Spring Carnival campaign that is likely to kick-off in the Group 2 The Shorts (1100m) at Royal Randwick on September 16th.
A rising seven-year-old, Chautauqua appeared to have lost his trademark turn of foot when he worked to the line in each of his first three starts through the recent Autumn Carnival, but produced arguably the most potent sprint of his career in the final 300m of the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) on April 1st.
Hawkes told Racenet that the team cannot fault the condition of the son of Encosta De Lago and confirmed that the inaugural running of The Everest (1200m) at Randwick on October 14th will be the hopeful third-up target.
“The horse looks unbelievable. Yes, he’s got a bit whiter I suppose being a bit older now but he’s still a superstar,” Hawkes said.
“He’s strengthened, he’s ticking over well and we’re just building him up nice and slowly.
“The Shorts is there first-up, the Premiere Stakes second-up, and then third-up in the Everest but who knows. Melbourne is there as well.
“The way that we travel our horses I don’t think it’s an issue (running in Melbourne prior to The Everest).
“Ideally we would like to see him start in Sydney but I think it will all depend on the weights – the Shorts is set weights and penalties rather than weight-for-age.”
Chautauqua has been the stable star of Team Hawkes throughout his entire racing career so far and will carry an outstanding record of thirteen wins and eleven minors, from only twenty-eight into his Spring Carnival campaign.
Posting his first win at the highest level in the 2015 edition of the TJ Smith Stakes, Chautauqua won the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) during the proceeding Spring Carnival and resumed in 2016 for a last-gasp win in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m).
Successfully defending his crown in the TJ Smith Stakes, the gelding out of Lovely Jubly beat a field of the world’s best in the Group 1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) in Hong Kong, but failed to come up in the spring and was sent to the paddock after placing seventh in the Manikato Stakes.
Resuming this year for third in the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m), Chautauqua finished an agonizingly-close second in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) and third behind Winx and Le Romain in the Group 1 George Ryder (1500m), in what was his only other start prior to the TJ Smith Stakes.
Chautauqua remains the early $4.80 favourite in 2017 The Everest betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au.
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