Co-trainer Wayne Hawkes is confident that Chautauqua is the best horse in the 2015 Manikato Stakes field and he believes that with even luck his star sprinter will win the Group 1 event at Moonee Valley on Friday night.
Chautauqua finally broke through for a maiden win at Group 1 level when he took out the T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on April 6 and he has proven far too strong for his rivals in both the Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on September 5 and the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on October 4.
Hawkes said that Chautauqua has had an trouble free preparation ahead of the Manikato Stakes and he told Racing Ahead that there is no doubt in his mind that the Encosta De Lago gelding is the best horse in the race.
“He is lovely and relaxed now and he wants to be a racehorse,” Hawkes said.
“Everything has been good.
“He has had a really good 12 months.
“Everything has gone pretty much to plan and there are no dramas with him.
“I have no doubt that he is the best horse in the race, what better sprinter is running around?
“That is not sounding bullish, his record says that.
“He has been unlucky in the Patinack (Darley Classic) and the Newmarket, if he had been a bit closer he could be win, win, win for his last ten starts.
“He is a great horse and he doesn’t need any good luck because he is good enough, but you don’t need any bad luck.”
Chautauqua will jump from barrier two in the 2015 Manikato Stakes this weekend and Hawkes said that the stable will leave the riding instructions up to jockey Tommy Berry, who is set to reunite with the five-year-old for the first time since the T.J. Smith Stakes.
Hawkes said that he is keen for Berry to settle Chautauqua wherever he is comfortable in the Manikato Stakes, but he admits that he does not want the hoop to get caught up in a much race with Terravista and allow another horse to steal victory.
“At the end of the day, the jockeys have to make up their minds after they go three strides,” Hawkes said.
“The first decision is always your best one and hopefully that get it right.
“He doesn’t have to be a backmaker and wherever he is going to be happy is where he is going to be happy.
“He won’t have Terravista on his outside you wouldn’t think, but it is not just a Chautauqua, Terravista race.
“When you start getting into that stupid stuff it is when people get in trouble and things unfold badly – horses get beat because you are worried about other horses, which is what happened with Joao Moreira on Brazen Beau in the Newmarket.
“You just need to ride your own race.”
Chautauqua is currently available at 2015 Manikato Stakes odds of $2.05 with Ladbrokes and he is a dominant favourite from Terravista ($6), Srikandi ($7), Buffering ($7.50) and Rebel Dane ($11).
Leading online bookmaker Ladbrokes are offering Best Tote or Starting Price +20% on every single runner in the Manikato Stakes field, which guarantees you can score the best odds for Chautauqua or any other horse in the race.