Multiple Group 1 winner and crowd favourite Chautauqua has been officially retired from the race track after failing to leave the barriers again in a specially convened barrier trial at the Moir Stakes meeting at The Valley on Friday night.
Chautauqua had been banned from racing after failing to leave the starting gates with the rest of the field in several previous barrier trials and had to jump cleanly on Friday night to meet the requirements set down by Racing New South Wales stewards for him to be given his barrier certificate and allowed to race again.
Chautauqua had to jump away cleanly on two consecutive occasions to be given the all clear to resume his racing career and was on track after leaving the starting gates with a small field in a recent Flemington jump out.
The three times T J Smith Stakes winner’s fate was sealed when he stood in the barriers like a statue when the gates opened in last night’s trial and the rest of the field left him behind with Tommy Berry trying to urge him to follow.
Team Hawkes along with Berry and the dappled up grey’s connections were very disappointed the six times Group 1 winner was never going to perform his last to first dynamic finish again.
“I choked up a bit coming back,” Berry said.
“He’s been a very good horse to me and for the crowd to give him that standing ovation, it was pretty nice.”
“Trotting to gates he was like a pony and I couldn’t get him to liven up,” he said.
“Tonight was as much of a race day as you’d want to get.”
Managing part-owner Rupert Legh finally accepted that Chautauqua racing career was over.
“We have done everything we can to get him out there,” Legh said.
“We’ve had the support of race clubs, stewards, the public and we can’t do any more. We’ve given him every chance.
“He’s telling us something.”
Co-trainer Wayne Hawkes, who trains in partnership with his father John and brother Michael, said that Chautauqua was in great order heading onto the track after the stable had prepared him to the the best of their ability for his date with destiny.
“We’ve done everything we can and if you don’t want to do it, you don’t want to do it,” Wayne Hawkes said.
“And guess what he didn’t want to do it.
“It’s disappointing for all the supporters.
“I’ve been lucky enough to be involved with some great horses, and he’s one of the greats.”
Chautauqua is the winner of thirteen of his thirty-two race starts, which includes six at Group 1 level and has earned in excess of $8.8 million in prizemoney.
Chautauqua always had his backer’s hearts in their mouths with his come from behind flying finish which typically saw him come from last to gain victory in the last few strides.
The eight year’s flying finish saw him win three consecutive Group 1 $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick in 2015, 2016 and 2017 and he also beat a classy field of international sprinters in Hong Kong with his trademark last to first finish in the 2016 Group 1 HK$10,000,000 The Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) at Sha Tin.