Trainer Michael Hawkes was happy with barrier six for Chautauqua in the Group 1 HK$10,000,000 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) at Sha Tin in Hong Kong on Sunday, but said that the any gate would have suited the backmarker.
“It doesn’t matter where he draws as long as he has the right run and it depends on the speed around him and that’s probably going to be the key factor,” Hawkes said
“It depends how the race is run but he doesn’t have to be dead-set last, but it’s about getting the horse to relax where he is happy.
“We will be competitive whatever the outcome.”
Chautauqua always gets back in his races as he did last start when he produced a last to first win in the Group 1 $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on day one of ‘The Championships’ on April 2.
Following that win, his fourth at Group 1 level, the flying grey was rated the world’s best sprinter and is seen as the horse to beat in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize.
Two starts earlier Chautauqua scored a first up win in the Group 1 $750,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington on February 20 but then went down as favourite when third to The Quarterback in the Group 1 $1.25m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 12.
Chautauqua was also the winner of the 2015 T J Smith Stakes and the Group 1 $1m Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley during the 20115 Melbourne Spring Carnival.
Tommy Berry is back aboard the grey in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize and the pair have teamed previously for three wins and a placing all at Group 1 level.
Berry and Chautauqua scored a stunning last to first victory in the 2016 T J Smith Stakes which gave the pair back to back wins in Sydney’s Autumn Carnival feature weight for age sprint.
Berry also rode Chautauqua when he won the Manikato Stakes while the only time the pair tasted defeat together was when third behind Dissident and Wandjina in the 2015 Group 1 $400,000 Schweppes All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick.
Berry said that Chautauqua looks in top order and he won’t be offering any excuses if he gets beaten on Sunday.
“He is coming here in tip top order, the track is not going to worry him. The wet is not going to worry him if it is wet on the day,” Berry said.
“He will have no excuses, if he is good enough he will win.”
Chautauqua remains the clear cut favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au at $2.15 ahead of Buffering at $6, Aerovelocity at $7.50 and Gold-Fun and Thewizardofoz both at $8.
Chairman’s Sprint Prize market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $2.15 Chautauqua, $6 Buffering, $7.50 Aerovelocity , $8 Thewizardofoz, Gold-Fun, $9 Lucky Bubbles, $13 Peniaphobia, $31 Not Listenin’tome, Amazing Kids, $41 Mongolian Saturday, $101 Charles The Great, $126 Strathmore, Divine Boy, $151 Super Jockey.