Brilliant sprinter Chautauqua has seven rivals to beat in the Group 2 $200,000 Schweppes Rubiton Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on Saturday before he finds his way back into the winner’s stall.
Chautauqua has drawn barrier five in the Rubiton Stakes with Dwayne Dunn to ride again and the mighty grey sprinter will have to be in better form than he showed during the 2016 Spring Carnival with two unplaced runs at Moonee Valley.
The Team Hawkes trained six year old failed to fire in the Spring with a fourth to Extreme Choice in the Group 1 $500,000 Charter Keck Cramer Moir Stakes (1000m) followed by a ninth to Rebel Dane in the Group 1 $1m Manikato Stakes (1200m).
Chautauqua was in dynamic form during the 2016 Autumn Carnival and was named the world’s best sprinter after scoring back to back wins in the Group 1 $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick during the 2015 and 2016 Autumn Carnivals.
The powerful grey sprinter then went to Hong Kong to win the Group 1 HK$10,000,000 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) at Sha Tin with an explosive last to first finish.
Dunn is confident the grey is on the way back and expects him to be hard to beat in the Rubiton Stakes following an encouraging third in a recent 900m Rosehill barrier trial.
“We are expecting him to perform really well,” Dunn told G1X.
“The trial the other day sort of reassured he was back in town. His attitude was much better, he was just a little lethargic last time.
“Now he’s back up on his toes, back to his old self. We’re hoping that translate into his old form.
“I’d be disappointed if he doesn’t win. There’s no reason why he shouldn’t run well.”
Leading Victorian trainer Darren Weir will provide some tough opposition for Chautauqua with El Divino and Hellbent who have both had the benefit of one run back from a spell when finishing second and third behind Tivaci in the Listed $120,000 Kensington Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on January 28.
El Divino has drawn nicely at barrier three with Damien Oliver to ride again and Hellbent has drawn the outside gate with Damian Lane retaining the mount.
Lindsay Park co-trainers David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig will saddle up two runners in the Rubiton Stakes with Fast ‘N’ Rocking drawing barrier seven for Regan Bayliss and Miss Promiscuity to jump from gate two with Michael Dee in the saddle.
Chautauqua is naturally the short priced favourite at $2.40 in early betting for the Rubiton Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au ahead of Hellbent at $4.60 and El Divino and Wild Rain who share the next line of betting at $6.50.