One time world number one sprinter Chautauqua will have to pass a barrier test at Warwick Farm on Monday before being allowed to kick off his 2018 Autumn Carnival campaign in the Group 1 $500,000 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Randwick on March 10.
The Team Hawkes trained Chautauqua has put his defence of his T J Smith Stakes crown in jeopardy when he twice refused to jump from the barriers at the Rosehill barrier trials on Tuesday and is down to trial in heat four at Warwick Farm on Monday.
The Hawkes Team had decided to bypass the Group 1 $500,000 Ladbrokes Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield last Saturday and barrier trial the seven year old before running first up in the Canterbury Stakes on his way to attempting to win his fourth successive Group 1 $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 7, the first day of The Championships.
But to the surprise of everybody, Chautauqua refused to jump from the barriers in the five horse trial over 1050m despite the urgings of jockey Brenton Avdulla.
Racing New South Wales stewards then allowed the grey flash to line up again in a later trial but he refused to leave the starting gates again which forced the stewards to order him to pass a barrier test before being allowed to return to the races.
“He is a horse with no prior issues at the barriers,” steward Troy Vassallo told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“We considered asking him to trial twice but in the circumstances we thought one would be enough to show he will get out of the barriers.
“It is a highly unusual situation.”
Chautauqua hasn’t been to the races since running fourth to Redzel down the Flemington straight in the Group 1 $1m Darley Classic (1200m) on the last day of the 2017 Melbourne Cup Carnival and hasn’t won a race since winning his third T J Smith Stakes during the 2017 Sydney Autumn Carnival.
Early betting for the T J Smith Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au has Chautauqua marked at $9 to defend his title while the Peter and Paul Snowden trained Redzel heads the market order at $4.60.
The Gerald Ryan trained Menari and Lindsay Park’s Vega Magic share the third line of betting at $11.
Early betting for the 2018 T J Smith Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4.60 Redzel, $9 Chautauqua, $11 Menari, Vega Magic, $15 Kementari, Merchant Navy, Redkirk Warrior, $17 Alizee, English, In Her Time, Ittetsu, $21 Spirit Of Valor, $26 Clearly Innocent, Danon Liberty, Librisa Breeze, She Will Reign, Trapeze Artist, Washington DC, $34 or better the rest.