The 2015 McEwen Stakes field has been released and star sprinter Chautauqua is set to start his 2015 Spring Racing Carnival campaign in the Group 2 event at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
Chautauqua stamped himself as one of the best sprinters in Australia during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival, but he was denied by Terravista in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) and he went into his autumn campaign without a Group 1 victory on his racing resume.
The son of Encosta De Lago started his autumn preparation with a fast-finishing victory in the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on February 14, but he not have a great deal of luck in running in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) and he could finish no better than second behind Brazen Beau.
Chautauqua was sent back to Sydney for the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on April 6 and he savaged the line in the final stages to record a narrow win over Lord Of The Sky, but he was beaten as a favourite in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on April 18.
The presence of Chautauqua has not scared away other trainers from the McEwen Stakes and the five-year-old is set to take 14 rivals in the Group 2 event on Saturday.
The only other Group 1 winner in the 2015 McEwen Stakes is Peter Moody-trained Flamberge, who was only narrowly beaten by Chautauqua in the Rubiton Stakes earlier this year.
Flamberge has been a consistent performer throughout his racing career, but he produced easily the best performance of his career to date to score a maiden Group 1 victory in the Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville on May 16.
The presence of two talented three-year-olds has added plenty of interest to the 2015 McEwen Stakes field and both Headwater and Furnaces will take on the older horses for the first time this weekend.
Headwater stamped himself as one of the most talented colts in Australia when he took out the Group 2 Silver Slipper Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on February 21 and he was far from disgraced in both the Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on March 7 and the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m).
The Exceed And Excel colt failed to fire in the Group 3 San Domenico Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on August 15, but he has previously recorded a race win at Moonee Valley.
Furnaces was the early favourite for the Golden Slipper, but he was beaten in both the Listed Lonhro Stakes (1100m) at Royal Randwick on February 14 and the Todman Stakes before he finished sixth in the Golden Slipper.
Furnaces returned to winning form in the Group 3 Kindergarten Stakes (1100n) at Royal Randwick on April 6 and he has impressed in two barrier trials in the lead-up to his return to racing.
It Is Written, Kuro, The Quarterback, I’m All The Talk, Tycoon Tara, Miss Steele, Sweet Emily, Klishina, Written Dash, Sistonic and Parcel have also been included in the 2015 McEwen Stakes field.