Chautauqua and Deep Field started preparations for their autumn campaigns last week and co-trainer Michael Hawkes believes that the leading sprinters have both thrived during their stints in the spelling paddock.
Chautauqua showed plenty of talent as a three-year-old, but went to a completely different level during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival and stamped himself as one of the best sprinters in the world with two impressive wins in the Group 3 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) and the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) before he finished a close second behind Terravista in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 8.
The Encosta De Lago gelding was sent to the spelling paddock following his strong Darley Classic effort, but has now returned to the Melbourne-based Team Hawkes stable and Hawkes told Racing Ahead that he has heard nothing but positive reports about the four-year-old.
“Chautauqua has come into the stable this week in Melbourne and he has thrived,” Hawkes said.
“He had the well-deserved break and he looks super.
“I haven’t physically seen him, but from all reports he looks fantastic.”
Deep Field is yet to receive an opportunity at Group 1 level, but many racing experts consider him the most exciting horse in Australia ahead of the 2015 Autumn Racing Carnival.
The Northern Meteor entire won his first three starts by a combined total of 20 lengths and he proved that he was capable of performing at Stakes level when he took out the Listed City Tatts Club Lightning (1100m) at Royal Randwick on October 18 and the Group 2 Salinger Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day.
Hawkes has always stated that Deep Field still had a great deal of physical and mental improvement in front of him and the talented trainer feels that the four-year-old may have taken the next step during his stint in the spelling paddock.
“Deep Field came back in last week to the Sydney stable,” Hawkes said.
“He looks fabulous.
“He has matured right up, physically he has gone to that next level and he has probably gone from a bit of a boy into a man.
“His attitude is still great, he is bouncing around and the horse probably has not looked as good as he has right now.”
Team Hawkes are yet to decide what path either Chautauqua or Deep Field will follow during their respective autumn campaigns, but are hoping to keep the duo separate before a possible clash in the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on April 4.