Connections of sensational Chairman’s Sprint Prize winner Chautauqua will give up the opportunity to win a US$1m Global Sprint Challenge bonus and send the grey back to Australia to prepare for the Melbourne Spring Carnival.
Chautauqua was on track to collect the bonus after winning the his second Global Sprint Challenge race with a last to first win in the Group 1 HK$10,000,000 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) at Sha Tin in Hong Kong last Sunday.
Winning jockey Tommy Berry had Chautauqua ($1.80 favourite) out the back of the field in the early and middle stages but started to make his move coming to the home turn before reeling in the leaders within the last one hundred metres to claim victory over Lucky Bubbles ($3.30) and Strathmore ($217).
To be eligible to collect the US$1m bonus, a horse has to win three of the designated Group 1 sprints in three different countries and the Team Hawkes trained five year old had already won the Global Sprint Challenge designated Group 1 $750,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington on February 20.
A trip to Royal Ascot in England for a chance to win the bonus was considered with a win in either the Group 1 £400,000 The King’s Stand Stakes (5 furlongs) on June 14 or in the Group 1 £600,000 The Diamond Jubilee Stakes (6 furlongs) on June 18 enough to collect the extra US$1m.
The Group 1 £500,000 Darley July Cup (6 furlong) at Newmarket on July 9 is also on the Global Sprint Challenge list.
But a quick decision was made by the Hawkes Team of John, Wayne and Michael, to bypass England and head home to Australia with a possible Spring Carnival campaign or a return trip to Hong Kong for the Group 1 HK$18.5m Longines Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin on December 11.
“Dad (John) said that we are staying home. It is all about looking after your horse. And hopefully we will get another good twelve months out of Chautauqua,” Wayne Hawkes told Sky Sports Radio.
“It was a pretty easy decision. The owners said to take the ego out of it and do what’s right for the horse.
“He’s got a black eye this morning (Monday) and is a little bit flat. That run was equivalent to a normal horse having two runs.
“This time next year it might be a different story but we want to look after him. He’s been great to us.”
“This horse when there is some pace in the race, he has a half mile freaky run home.”
Chautauqua’s win in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize was the grey’s fifth visit to the Group 1 winner’s stall and as well as winning the Black Caviar Lightning, he also won back to back $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick in 2015 and 2016 and the 2015 $1m Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley .