Co-trainer Wayne Hawkes has confirmed that talented sprinter Chautauqua is unlikely to contest the 2015 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes at Flemington on February 21.
Michael Hawkes revealed last week that Deep Field would likely make the trip to Melbourne for the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m), but Wayne Hawkes told RSN this morning that a clash between the stables two leading sprinters is unlikely this early in their campaign.
Hawkes said that the stable would rather win two races with their star sprinters and he revealed that Chautauqua is a chance of returning to the races in the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield next Saturday before stepping up to highest level of racing for the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 14.
“Probably not,” Hawkes said when asked if Chautauqua would contest the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes.
“We are not really sure to be honest.
“There are plans A,B and C and we are trying to avoid clashing both horses.
“You can’t program what else is going to be nominated unless you train them and they don’t want to see each other because we want to try and win two races and not run first and second.
“He could go and run in the Rubiton and then the Newmarket or he could go straight back to Sydney, so we are just keeping everything open with him.
“I reckon a Newmarket is a better race for Chautauqua because it is 1200.
“We have never won a Newmarket Handicap before and there is not many between us all that we haven’t won.”
Chautauqua raced exclusively down the famous Flemington straight during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival and he stamped himself as one of the best sprinters in Australia by taking out the Group 3 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) on September 13 and the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) on October 4 before he finished second behind Terravista in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) on November 8.
While Chautauqua has clearly shown he is capable of performing at his best in straight race, Hawkes is confident that the Encosta De Lago gelding is just as good around the bend and is unlikely to race exclusively at Flemington this preparation.
“The reason why we kept him to the straight racing was because it was there,” Hawkes said.
“When you so good down the straight you use it to your advantage.
“He should have won the Gosford Guineas, he was desperately unlucky in the Scone Guineas and he won at Geelong one day, so he can go around a corner, but we just kept him to the straight races because it suited.
“We are very mindful that it is hard to get these good horses and if you race them twice as much you don’t win twice as many.”
Chautauqua is currently available at 2015 Newmarket Handicap odds of $4.20 with Ladbrokes Australia and is a narrow favourite from Terravista ($4.80), Deep Field ($5) and Lankan Rupee ($7).