Chautauqua raced exclusively down the famous Flemington straight during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival, but co-trainer Wayne Hawkes is confident that the talented sprinter will have no problems handling a return to racing around a bend in the 2015 Rubiton Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday.
Chautauqua started his spring preparation with an explosive win in the Group 3 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) at Flemington on September 13 and he cruised to an effortless victory in the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) at the same venue on October 4 before he finished second behind Terravista in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) on November 8.
The Encosta De Lago gelding has never previously raced at Caulfield, but has previously won two races around a bend and Hawkes told Sky Racing HQ that feats the four-year-old will not handle Caulfield in the Rubiton Stakes are completely unwarranted.
“He is really good,” Hawkes said.
“He has done everything right and it will be good to get him back.
“Lots of people said that we kept him down the straight because he doesn’t go around a corner, but he went alright around a corner at Geelong when he won a maiden by five and he went pretty good in a Gosford Guineas around a tight track and should have run easily.
“He should have won the Scone Guineas as well, so there is no issue about him going around a corner and it is just in the spring we just kept him to the straight races and only gave him three light runs.
“We are looking for longevity with him and the 1100 metres suits him just fine.”
Chautauqua is currently available at 2015 Rubiton Stakes odds of $1.60 and Hawkes is happy with his condition ahead of the Group 2 event, but revealed that the Group 1 placegetter might got get things his own way this weekend.
Hawkes expects speedy filly Eloping to take up the running in the early stages of the Rubiton Stakes and he feels that Chautauqua will need to perform at his very best to run down the gutsy front-runner.
“I always laugh when trainers talk about percentages because I haven’t seen a percentage metre yet, but he is forward enough to win,” Hawkes said.
“They are not easy races these ones because little horse like Eloping can just jump and deadset just bowl along and reel off quick sectionals like Eloping does.
“Her pattern is from 600 from to quicken up and they are always hard to beat those horses because if they get a soft run up in front and you are sitting off them they are always very hard to run down, but he is good and I am very happy with him.”
Chautauqua is set to contest the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 14 if he performs well in the Rubiton Stakes before he is potentially sent to Sydney for the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m).