The world’s highest rated sprinter Chautauqua will need a slick pace up front if he is to win the Group 1 HK$10,000,000 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) at Sha Tin in Hong Kong on Sunday.
Chautauqua’s Australian co-trainer John Hawkes said that the backmarker will need a hot pace from the leaders to give him his best chance of unleashing his powerful finishing burst as he displayed when he won his second Group 1 $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on the first day of ‘The Championships’ on April 2.
“Obviously we want a good, genuine pace. The harder they go the better for him. The ground doesn’t matter, he’s fine wet or dry but we do want a good pace,” Hawkes said.
“He’s a backmarker and back markers lose more races than they win. On speed runners win more than they lose. But he’s only run one bad race in his life and he’ll go in on Sunday in good shape and we’d love to see him do what he can.”
In Australia the Hawkes Racing Team comprises of Hall Of Fame trainer John and his two sons Michael and Wayne, but under the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s rules, training partnerships aren’t allowed.
Michael Hawkes is in Hong Kong supervising Chautauqua’s preparation and the grey will race with his name listed as the trainer while in Hong Kong.
But John Hawkes still regards it as a team effort and the trio will all join in the celebrations if Chautauqua can win the Chairman’s Sprint Prize on the world stage.
“That doesn’t matter, we’ve always been a team. The boys have been part of the operation ever since they were old enough to help,” John Hawkes said.
Hawkes senior has joined Michael in Hong Kong and was happy with the way Chautauqua looked when he inspected him at the Sha Tin racecourse.
“He looks great,” Hawkes senior said.
“He looks like he’s settled in great. The important thing is that we’re here and he’s in good order and gets to take his chance. We were very keen to come last December but he wrenched a joint and just wasn’t 100 per cent. The horse always comes first with us, they always have and we wouldn’t have taken a risk with him.
“It might have been a blessing in disguise because he had a good spell and he’s come back so well. I think his last win was the best of his career.”
Among Chautauqua’s opponents on Sunday will be seven times Group 1 winner and Australian rival Buffering who is also coming off a last start Group 1 win.
The Robert Heathcote trained Buffering showed that he was also world class with an impressive win in the Group 1 US$1m Al Quoz Sprint (1000m) at Meydan in Dubai on March 26.
Chautauqua’s heads the market order for the Chairman’s Sprint Prize at $2.25 with Buffering on the second line of betting at $6.50 ahead of local hopes Lucky Bubbles, Aerovelocity and Thewizardofoz at $7.50.
Chairman’s Sprint Prize market order: $2.25 Chautauqua, $6.50 Buffering, $7.50 Aerovelocity, Thewizardofoz, Lucky Bubbles, $8 Gold Fun $21 Peniaphobia, Not Listenin’tome, $26 Amazing Kids, $31 Mongolian Saturday, $81 Strathmore, $101 Dundonnell, Charles The Great, $151 Super Jockey, I’m In Charge.