Chautauqua’s Hong Kong Sprint mount is up for grabs with trainer John Hawkes to decide next week who gets the coveted ride the flying grey.
Group 1 winning jockeys Tommy Berry and Dwayne Dunn are both in the running for the ride on Chautauqua in the Group 1 HK$10m Chariman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) at Sha Tin in Hong Kong on May 1.
“We haven’t made that decision yet, probably the middle of next week,” Hawkes told the Herald Sun.
“We have to a do a bit of thinking.”
Both riders have won Group 1 races on Chautauqua with Berry his Sydney rider while Dunn takes the majority of the rides when the grey races in Melbourne.
Berry, who has started a six week riding contract in Japan, was aboard for Chautauqua’s two wins in the 2015 and 2016 Group 1 $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick as well as his win in the 2015 Group 1 $1m Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley when Dunn was on the sidelines because of a careless riding suspension.
But the top Melbourne jockey has recorded six wins on the Team Hawkes trained super sprinter including a nose first up victory in the Group 1 $750,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington on February 20.
The Hawkes Team of John and sons Wayne and Michael has reported that Chautauqua has pulled up in great condition since winning his second T J Smith Stakes and he will head off to Hong Kong early next week in fine order.
“He pulled up really well from the run,” Michael Hawkes said.
“He’s actually improved off that win so as long as he travels well and everything goes to plan, he’s going to be right there.”
The Hawkes Team is confident that Chautauqua will perform well in the Chariman’s Sprint Prize against the best sprinters in the world which will include Queensland’s multiple Group 1 winner Buffering who heads to Hong Kong after winning the Group 1 US$1m Al Quoz Sprint (1000m) at Meydan in Dubai on March 26.
“You can only go off your last run and based on the way he won the other day it wouldn’t matter where he was in the world,” Hawkes said.
“That being said Buffering is there, he’s coming off a super win in Dubai, and Mongolian Saturday is there as well so it’s certainly a competitive race.”
A winning performance in Hong Kong could see Chautauqua continue on to England for the major sprint races over the Royal Ascot Carnival.
“If he wins in Hong Kong we might have to think about meeting the Queen but we’re taking it one step at a time with him, he’s still only a five-year-old and has plenty of racing ahead of him,” Hawkes said.
In early betting for the Chairman’s Sprint Prize Chautauqua has been installed the $2.25 favourite while Buffering is rated an $8 chance.