Form analyst Deane Lester has Chautauqua on top of his 2015 Manikato Stakes tips and he believes that the star sprinter is a deserving favourite for the Group 1 event that will be held at Moonee Valley tonight.
Chautauqua stamped himself as one of the best sprinters in Australia during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival, but he was unable to record a maiden win at the highest level of racing until he stormed home late to take out the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on April 6.
The Encosta De Lago gelding showed that he had no problems handling Moonee Valley when he swept home to record a very soft victory in the Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on September 5 and he overcame a tough passage to take out the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on October 4.
Lester admits that Chautauqua may need some luck in running when he jumps from barrier two, but he told RSN that he is confident that the five-year-old has the talent to overcome any bad luck in the 2015 Manikato Stakes.
“He has the great ability to just accelerate through the field, even if he does get in a bit of trouble,” Lester said.
“We have seen it in the Rubiton Stakes and we saw it again recently in the Gilgai.
“He can just overcome difficulties so quickly because he has that immediate turn-of-foot.
“It will need a smart ride, but I think he can get through and win.”
Terravista returned to the races with a credible win in the Group 2 Premiere Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on October 3 and Lester believes that the Captain Rio gelding is the major danger to Chautauqua, but he believes that he may not peak until the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington on the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, while he said that you can never completely rule out Moir Stakes winner Buffering.
“I thought he won ok first-up and he is probably just building towards the Darley Classic again,” Lester said.
“Buffering is such a reliable horse here at Moonee Valley and he will give a good sight for a long way.”
Chautauqua is currently available at 2015 Manikato Stakes odds of $2.15 with Ladbrokes and he is a dominant favourite from Terravista ($5.50), Buffering ($7), Srikandi ($7.50), Rebel Dane ($12) and Alpha Miss ($15).
You score the best Manikato Stakes odds with Ladbrokes, who are offering Best Tote or Starting Price +20% on every single runner in the Group 1 event.