Hong Kong based jockey Tommy Berry will make a flying visit to Melbourne to help Chautauqua fly the gates when he has a vital jump out at Flemington on Friday morning.
Chautauqua has been banned from racing until be successfully jumps from the barriers to the stewards’ satisfaction on two occasions after failing to leave the starting gates on four occasions during his 2018 Autumn Carnival preparation.
Co-trainer Wayne Hawkes said that Berry has been given permission from the Hong Kong Jockey Club to fly back to Australia to ride Chautauqua in the jump out before returning to Hong Kong for Sunday’s meeting and all the connections are hoping that the teaming up again of jockey and horse will be successful.
Berry and Chautauqua have teamed up in the past for five Group 1 wins together and Hawkes is hoping the reuniting of the two will prove to be another winner.
“Tommy Berry’s going to come back from Hong Kong and ride him in the jump out on Friday,” Hawkes told racing.com.
“We spoke about it and thought, ‘you know what, it’s our last-ditch effort, let’s leave no stone unturned’, not that the other boys had done anything wrong with him, but Tommy’s won five Group 1s on him, and if he rides him and it doesn’t happen, we’ve done everything we possibly can, haven’t we?
“If he can get through everything and do what he does, Tommy will definitely be riding him.”
“To be fair, it was good from the (HK) Jockey Club.
“Everyone knows what’s happened with Chautauqua – they’ve got their own, with Pakistan Star’s issues up there.
“The Jockey Club were more than happy to let him come back to ride the jump out, it’s certainly not protocol so I do need to say thanks to the Jockey Club.”
Chautauqua is in the advanced stages of his Spring Carnival preparation and Hawkes, who trains in partnership with his father John and brother Michael, said that the flying grey is in great shape physically.
“He’s as good as he is, his mental attitude’s fantastic, and we’ve just got one little hurdle – he’s got to come out of those gates fast,” Hawkes said.
Chautauqua is best remembered for his flying last to first finishes which he performed to secure back to back wins in the 2016 and 2017 Group 1 $2.5m T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick with Berry in the saddle.
Berry is hoping that Chautauqua will skip the gates cleanly on Friday and quickly get back to his best which will put him in line to fill a slot in the 2018 version of the $13m The Everest (1200m) at Randwick in October.
“He’s a genuine superstar capable of anything on his day,” Berry said.
“I’ll ride him in the jump out and then stick with him when he resumes in Sydney, where The Everest will be a target race.
“The Everest looks an even race at the moment, no standout and if he returns somewhere near his best, he’ll beat them.
“If he’s got it in him to run somewhere near his best, then Hawkesy will get him there.”
Chautauqua is the winner of thirteen of his thirty-two race starts, six of them at Group 1 level, and has earned in excess of $8.8 million in prizemoney.