Tommy Berry has been booked to ride Chautauqua in the 2015 T.J. Smith Stakes and the talented hoop is delighted to be given the opportunity to partner the gelding in the Group 1 event at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Dwayne Dunn has ridden Chautauqua in his six of his past six starts, but the veteran hoop will ride Fast ‘N’ Rocking in the T.J. Smith Stakes, while Berry has been given the chance to ride the four-year-old.
Chautauqua started his 2015 Melbourne Festival Of Racing campaign with a fast-finishing victory in the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on February 14 and he was unlucky not to finish closer to Brazen Beau in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 14.
Berry told Sky Racing Radio this morning that he is thrilled to have been given the ride on Chautauqua in the T.J. Smith Stakes and he is confident that the talented sprinter can finally record a maiden win at the highest level of racing this weekend.
“I am really looking forward to Chautauqua and obviously he is a really exciting horse,” Berry said.
“He was unlucky last start, he lost a lot of ground before he flew home and hit the line strong.
“He is a very exciting horse that hasn’t won a Group 1 yet, but I think that he is knocking on the door.
“I saw him this morning and he worked with one of their trackwork riders on it.
“He looked really well.
“He only came down in the last couple of days, he stayed down there with Wayne Hawkes in Melbourne and he has done most of his preparation there.
“They wanted to keep him in the same routine, but he has been to Sydney before and he has been very competitive.
“I couldn’t be any happier and I think the stable are very pleased with him going into Saturday.”
Chautauqua was settled towards the tale of the field by Dunn in the early stages of the Newmarket Handicap and he did not find clear running until the final 250 metres, but he flew home in the final stages to finish second.
Berry does not believe that there will be a great deal of speed in the early stages of the 2015 T.J. Smith Stakes and he expects that tactics could play a key role in the outcome of the $2.5 million event.
“Even though horses like Lankan Rupee are quick in a field of only nine there isn’t going to be a lot of speed and that is always a little bit of a query and in the smaller field they are going to be a lot closer then I would in the bigger field anyway,” Berry said.
Chautauqua is currently available at 2015 T.J. Smith Stakes odds of $2.60 and is a narrow favourite from Terravista ($3.20), Lankan Rupee ($6) and Sweet Idea ($6).