Classy sprinter Chautauqua remains the firm favourite for the Group 2 $200,000 Schweppes Rubiton Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
The Team Hawkes trained Chautauqua opened at $1.70 on Wednesday and has firmed since to be the dominant $1.65 favourite with Ladbrokes.com.au.
Next in the market order is the Sydney mare Atmospherical at $6 and the speedy three year old filly Eloping at $6.50.
Chautauqua created a huge impression at his last three starts in Melbourne during the Spring Carnival with two wins and a second down the Flemington straight and while some racegoers have some minor reservations how the four year will handle the new Caulfield track.
Regular rider Dwayne Dunn can see no reason why the grey won’t handle going around a corner and will take advantage of a good barrier draw to race a little more handily.
“There’s no reason why he can’t be as dominant around a corner if he can produce that same turn of foot we see down the straight,” Dunn told racing.com.
“I think he’s really matured physically and mentally and hopefully he can put himself in a good spot in the run and not have to make up too much ground.”
“Touch wood he’s been stepping (out of the barriers) well in his jumpouts and I’d expect him to race a bit closer than what he has been down the straight.”
Chautauqau arrived in Melbourne with a bang last September and showed his liking for the Flemington straight when he came from well back in the field to score a two and half lengths win in the Group 3 $150,000 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) and then backed that up with a four lengths victory in the Group 2 $200,000 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) at Flemington again.
The Encosta De Lago gelding then went within a whisker of winning the Group 1 $1m Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 8 when second to the Joe Pride trained Terravista.
Dunn was happy with the effort of Chautauqua in a jumpout at Flemington on February 6 and expects the four year old to have a very successful Autumn Carnival.
“He looks great in his coat, he’s spelled well and he’s had no setbacks so I’m looking forward to a great autumn with him,” Dunn said.
“It’s hard to say that he could go any faster, those times he was running were sensational. If he could go a fraction quicker I’d love it and hopefully he can be dominant.”
Chautauqua has drawn barrier three in the ten horse Rubiton Stakes field with Eloping to take advantage of the inside gate to set the pace while Queensland filly Oakleigh Girl ($16) is also likely to go forward from barrier nine.