Two time winner Chautauqua is equal favourite with three year old Russian Revolution to win his third Group 1 $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on the first day of ‘The Championships’ on Saturday.
The Team Hawkes trained Chautauqua was named the world’s best sprinter when he won the Group 1 HK$10,000,000 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) at Sha Tin in Hong Kong on May 1 which followed his second T J Smith Stakes wins, but the Grey Flash has failed to find the winner’s stall from five runs since.
Three runs during this Autumn Carnival has seen Chautauqua placed on all three occasions and he kicked off his campaign with a first up third behind Super Cash and I Am A Star in the Group 2 $200,000 Schweppes Rubiton Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on February 11.
The six year old grey was then beaten a nose when second to Le Romain in the Group 1 $500,000 BMW Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Randwick on March 4 before finishing third behind Winx and Le Romain in the Group 1 $1m China Horse Club George Ryder (1500m) at Rosehill on March 18.
Jockey Tommy Berry was aboard Chautauqua for his two previous T J Smith Stakes wins, as well as his last two starts, and believes he can make it three in a row and is confident he can do it again on Saturday..
“I believe he can win,” Berry told AAP.
“I don’t think the field is as strong as it has been the last two years.”
“His Sydney form is sensational and his Randwick form is almost 100 per cent.”
“I wouldn’t say he’s going any better than the last two years but I don’t think he’s far off what he was then.
“His run two starts ago was outstanding and the way the George Ryder was run, they went way too slow for him and he was just a bit outsprinted at the top of the straight.”
Chautauqua has drawn barrier eleven in the fifteen horse T J Smith Stakes field and Berry will adopt his usual racing style of getting back in the field and charging home late at the finish.
“He’s going to get back and track wide and it will probably be suiting horses coming down the outside by that time of the day.”
Chautauqua shares favouritism for the T J Smith Stakes at $5 with rising star Russian Revolution at Ladbrokes.com.au while the John O’Shea trained Astern is also well in contention at $6 ahead of Spieth at $9 and Malaguerra at $9.50.