Owner Rupert Legh has revealed that champion sprinter Chautauqua is likely to return to racing in the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield Racecourse on February 11th.
Chautauqua failed to make anything of an impression through two starts in spring and was returned to the paddock after finishing a lacklustre seventh in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley in October.
Confirming that the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) on Day of The Championships is the major autumn target for the Encosta De Lago gelding in autumn, Legh told Racing Ahead that the horse will be ready for a competitive return in the Rubiton Stakes 2017, providing he comes through his Tuesday morning barrier trial well.
“He just wants to run and having spoken to John (Hawkes) quite regularly over the last few weeks, he has to do it on raceday but the indications are that the horse is back,” Legh said.
“He’s had a good spell which is what he needed and he’s put on about 40kgs, so fingers crossed.
“Plan A is at this stage, if he comes through yesterday’s jump-out well, the plan is to go to 1100m which is the Rubiton; the Lightning as a back-up.
“We don’t want to go 1000m at this stage. The horse has told us that he doesn’t like 1000m and we don’t want to go that path.
“So Rubiton, Newmarket if we don’t get weighted out of it and obviously the TJ is the main target. Then all going well, back to Hong Kong and maybe Ascot.
“So if he comes through it, we should see him racing at Caulfield on Saturday week.”
Chautauqua has posted twelve wins and a further eight minors through his twenty-four career starts so far; highlighted by five triumphs at the highest level of racing.
Resuming in 2016 for an impressive win in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m), Chautauqua was unable to make up the distance late when third in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m), but responded in the best way possible with a successful defence of his 2015 TJ Smith Stakes crown.
Winning the Group 1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) in Hong Kong on May 1st, Chautauqua resumed in spring for fourth in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m), in what was his only other start prior to the Manikato Stakes.
Chautauqua is currently available at early TJ Smith Stakes odds of $5 with online bookie Ladbrokes Australia.