Chautauqua showed an incredible turn-of-foot to record an outstanding victory in a thrilling edition of the 2016 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes.
Jockey Dwayne Dunn elected to settle Chautauqua at the tail of the field in the early stages of the race as the field split into two groups, with Exosphere and Va Pensiero racing on the inside of the track.
Terravista responded quickly when he was asked for an extra effort by jockey Damien Oliver and he looked as though he had the race won, but Chautauqua absolutely exploded in the final stages of the race and got his nose in front in the shadows of the post to record his third victory at Group 1 level.
Dunn admitted after the race that he was very worried at the 200 metre mark, but he was absolutely delighted to have finally steered Chautauqua to a Group 1 victory,
“He is a great horse,” Dunn said.
“I hope the crowd were excited because from my seat it wasn’t pleasant for a while.
“What about the turn-of-foot late and the endeavour to hit the line.
“This was a good little monkey to get off my back.
“John gave me the confidence before the race to go back and just keep him out on his own.
“When they split in the middle, I thought what do I do now, but the best horses were out wide and I thought I would go that way.
“We hopefully have the world to conquer this time in, but he spelled really well and probably missing Hong Kong was a blessing in disguise.
“He is only very lightly raced and he still has some things that he is doing wrong, but today he showed his true class.”
Co-trainer Wayne Hawkes showed no emotion in the final stages of the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes, but he said after the race that – like Dunn – he was not feeling particularly well at the 200 metre mark.
Hawkes said that Chautauqua was not particularly fit heading into the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes and he believes that the five-year-old will be even better when he presses on to races like the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) or the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m).
“At the 200 when he put on his backside it wasn’t the greatest feeling because where you stand at the mounting enclosure is right on the 200 and you get to watch it all live,” Hawkes said.
“I said to Rupert when they went out that today was going to be his most vulnerable day, you are soft, you are underdone and we have a long, long way to go.
“He spelled the best he ever spelled, he only had four weeks down on the Mornington peninsula, but he just came back a man mounting.
“He is bigger and stronger than he has ever been and that was probably the least fittest he has ever been going into a race.
“I reckon the thing that was a bit freaky was the last 200 and how he ran those horses down.
“You can do it when you are Chautauqua in an average race, but when you are against proper up the straight horses to do what he did and mow those super horses down was one hell of an effort.”
Team Hawkes is yet to decide where Chautauqua will head after the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes, but the Newmarket Handicap and TJ Smith Stakes are both options before he potentially heads to Hong Kong and Royal Ascot.