Team Hawkes co-trainer Michael Hawkes says that Chautauqua’s ‘Will To Win’ is what has made him the world’s best sprinter and that is what will help him win the inaugural running of the $10m The Everest (1200m) at Randwick on Saturday.
“I think what makes him so good is his amazing will-to-win. The last 200m of a race is where it counts and that is where he is strongest,” Hawkes told The Daily Telegraph.
Chautauqua is the winner of the last three runnings of the Group 1 $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes during the Sydney Autumn Carnival over the same course and distance as The Everest and each win saw the grey flash to victory with his trade mark last to first performance.
“Like Winx, he can sustain his finishing sprint longer than other horses and his last 200m of a race is phenomenal, always has been. He really wants to attack the line,’ Hawkes said.
“In his last TJ (Smith Stakes) win earlier this year, we dropped him back from 1500m to 1200m and I think at various stages of that race people would have been shaking their heads and saying this horse can’t possibly win — but he did and that is what champions do, they find a way.”
Chautauqau has missed a place at his two lead up runs for The Everest with a seventh to The Everest rival Redzel in the Group 2 $200,000 Shorts (1100m) at Randwick on September 16 followed by a sixth to In Her Time in the Group 2 $500,000 Premiere Stakes (1200m) at Randwick a fortnight later but the Hawkes Team of John, Wayne and Michael were happy the seven year old’s runs.
“First-up at 1100m he was always going to be vulnerable as he is getting older now but I thought he went terrific and his sectionals showed that,’’ Hawkes said.
“Then last start, it was also a good run as he did have a lot of kick back in his face from the track surface which he didn’t like.
“Brenton (jockey Brenton Avdulla) was adamant when Chautauqua got to clear air, he wanted to hit the line. It would be a different story if he wasn’t running those great sectional times and attacking the line.’’
Brenton Avdulla has been aboard Chautauqua for his two Spring Carnival runs and gets the nod again in The Everest and it will be no surprise to see the grey drop back to a clear last in the middle stages from barrier five in the twelve horse field.
Chautauqua has firmed slightly in the betting for The Everest and is now at $5.50 with Ladbrokes.com.au and is challenging the $5 equal favourites Vega Magic and She Will Reign for the top spot.