Chautauqua will step-up to 1400 metres for the 2015 All Aged Stakes at Royal Randwick this weekend and co-trainer Wayne Hawkes is confident that the talented sprinter will handle the extra distance in the Group 1 event.
Chautauqua stepped up to 1400 metres for the first time when he took out the Group 3 Hawkesbury Guineas (1400m) on May 3 last year, but since he finished a luckless fifth behind Cosmic Endeavour in the Inglis Guineas (1400m) at Scone on May 17 he has been kept over sprinting distances.
Hawkes has said throughout Chautauqua’s autumn preparation that the Encosta De Lago gelding was capable of winning a race like the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) and he believes that a mile may end up being the ideal distance for the four-year-old if he takes out the 2015 All Aged Stakes this weekend.
“At the end of the day he probably will be,” Hawkes said.
“He has run over the 1400 in the Scone Guineas last year and he should have won and I have said it before that he could be a Doncaster Handicap horse.
“Everybody said that he was just a straight horse and when he won so well up the straight in the spring what happened was we said that we would just utilize it to our advantage for only that reason.
“It will be great to see him get to 1400 and it will be a completely different race to the other day.
“I am sure that he will still be favourite, but there are some big shots like Dissident, Shooting To Win and Wandjina and a lot of good horses that are going to be running.
“It is certainly going to be one of the races of the Carnival.”
Chautauqua started his autumn campaign with a fast-finishing victory in the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on February 14 and he finished second behind Brazen Beau in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 14 before he stormed home late to record a maiden win at Group 1 level in the T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on April 6.
Hawkes said that Chautauqua pulled up extremely well coming out of his T.J. Smith Stakes victory and he revealed that the stable had simply been ticking the four-year-old over ahead of the All Aged Stakes on Saturday.
“It is his fourth run in and it is his final run,” Hawkes said.
“We don’t overwork them because when you are fit you can’t get fitter, we only just do the ticking over work.
“He will have a gallop tomorrow morning and he had one yesterday morning, but it was more just to clean his wind out.
“He will have a jog around the block and a swim on Friday and a jog around the block on Saturday morning just to take the edge off him.”
Chautauqua has the chance to join Shamekha (2005) and Bentley Biscuit (2007) as the only horses to complete the T.J. Smith Stakes/All Aged Stakes double.