The world’s second-highest rated sprinter resumed in typical fashion on Saturday with Chautauqua winning the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) in narrow but impressive fashion.
The four-year-old gelding was ridden quietly as usual, being held up in eighth place between runners. He was eased across the leaders’ heels by hoop Dwayne Dunn before running on strongly at 300 metres. He hit the lead with 50 metres to go, winning a head in front of Flamberge with Atmospherical a further three and a quarter lengths away in third.
Chautauqua proved he hadn’t lost his famous turn of foot during his time away from the track, justifying the punters support with a classy win. He will undoubtedly be a force to be reckoned with during the major sprint races this autumn.
The Team Hawkes-trained gelding was $1.85 odds-on favourite in the 2015 Rubiton Stakes betting at Ladbrokes.com.au. The Hawkes brothers were thrilled with the win and even happier with the ride from Dunn.
“You’ve got to give credit to the horse. He’s a proper horse, but Dwayne gave him a 15 out of 10 ride,” co-trainer Wayne Hawkes said.
“He was always going to be in a bugger of a spot and that’s where he was but Dwayne didn’t panic. He just sat, waited and got him balanced.
“He probably waited a bit too long but he never got him off stride and that’s why he hit the line like he did.”
Chautauqua won the Group 3 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) first-up in the spring before annihilating his competition in the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) to win four lengths clear of his closest rival. The gelding then took on the top dogs of sprint racing in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m), finishing runner-up to Terravista and beating Lankan Rupee home by three-quarters of a length.
The gelding is nominated for the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 14 before a potential trip to Sydney to contest The Championships. Dunn for one is confident he’s ready to dominate the autumn carnival.
“He’s got a few races ahead of him to really peak at and today probably wasn’t the race you wanted him at his best, but we still wanted him to win,” the hoop said.
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