The grey flash Chautauqua won’t get his chance to defend his title as the T J Smith Stakes champion after refusing to leave the barriers again in a Cranbourne trail this morning.
Chautauqua had been ordered by the Racing New South Wales stewards that he had to successfully complete two barrier trials before being allowed to return to the race track after refusing to jump with the field in three barrier trials in Sydney at Randwick and Rosehill.
The Hawkes Racing Team then sent Chautauqua to their Melbourne base at Flemington to get him cleared for racing but the seven year old grey remained in the barriers when the rest of the field left the starting gates in the 800m trial.
Part owner Rupert Legh listened to the disappointment of his star sprinter repeating his no-go antics on RSN Racing Pulse and said immediately after that he would leave any decisions relating to Chautauqua’s future racing career, including retirement, up to head trainer John Hawkes.
“At the end of the day I leave those decisions with John. He lives around these horses, I don’t and I am sure he will make the right decision for the horse and if that is what he wants to do (retirement) we as owners would have no issue with that what so ever,” Legh told RSN Racing Pulse.
Chautauqua is now likely to miss running in the Group 1 $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on the first day of The Championships on April 7, the race he has won the last three years.
“There is no doubt he has been one of the most exciting horses I have ever seen race in this country, if not the world,” Legh said.
“We are hoping that we can get him back because he is a very lightly raced seven year old and there is a lot of racing yet to be done with him.”
“Fingers crossed John can get his mind right and we will have him back out on the track again.”
“Everyone would of course like the horse to come out and win the T J, but that is definitely off the agenda now.”
Legh is thinking that Team Hawkes will now send Chautauqua to the paddock for a break and hopefully he will come back with a different attitude.
“You don’t to keep repeating bad habits and I think the most important thing now is to, and I am sure John (Hawkes) will make that decision, and in my opinion he would definitely go to the paddock and have a month spell and hopefully get his mojo back to jump the gates and be part of racing again,” Legh said.
“I would say that is where he is probably going to the paddock.”
“You don’t get anyone better that John Hawkes and the most important thing for everyone to know the horse is one hundred per cent physically sound.”
“It is a mystery to all of us. He is the only horse that has ever had to do this to him so at the end of the day you just have to sit back and take stock, and hopefully go out for a spell gets it out of his head.”
Chautauqua hasn’t raced since finishing fourth to Redzel in the Group 1 $1m Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington on the last day of the 2017 Melbourne Cup Carnival and is the winner of thirteen of his thirty-two race starts, including six at Group 1 level, and has earned $8,821,935 in prizemoney.
Chautauqua had been listed as an $11 chance at Ladbrokes.com.au to defend his T J Smith Stakes title but has now been removed from the betting.
The Team Snowden trained Redzel is currently the $2.40 favourite for the T J Smith Stakes and the nearest to The Everest winner in the betting is the Ben Smith trained In Her Time at $7 and Lindsay Park’s Vega Magic at $8.
Early betting for the 2018 T J Smith Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au: $2.40 Redzel, $7 In Her Time, $8 Vega Magic, $13 English, $15 Viridine, $17 Trapeze Artist, She Will Reign, $21 Jungle Edge, $26 Clearly Innocent, Hey Doc, $34 Global Glamour, Secret Agenda, Supido, $41 or better the rest.