Three times Group 1 winner Chautauqua heads the betting for the Group 1 $1.25m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on Saturday despite being allocated the top weight of 58kg.
Chautauqua will be only the fourth horse in fifty years to carry 58kg or more to victory if he can win the Group 1 sprint down the Flemington straight and while co-trainer John Hawkes knows that is a hell of a task, he is willing to let the grey sprinter give it his best shot.
“He has got a good horse’s weight, but he is running,” Hawkes, who trains in partnership with his sons Michael and Wayne, told the Herald Sun.
“It’s as simple as that.
“Only three horses have won with that weight and we know who they are, so that says enough doesn’t it. But that’s the category they’ve put him in but we’ll have a crack and you just never know.
“And as the saying goes, you have to be in it, to win it.”
The mighty Black Caviar carried 58kg when she demoralised her rivals in winning the 2011 Newmarket Handicap and the great Hay List carried 58.5kg the following year when he stormed down the middle of the track to beat Buffering who had 4kg less on his back.
The Bart Cummings trained Shaftesbury Avenue also carried 58kg to victory in winning the 1991 Newmarket Handicap.
Chautauqua collected his third Group 1 win when he beat Terravista and Japonisme in the Group 1 $750,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington on February 20 and the three placegetters are set to clash again on Saturday.
Despite the huge impost of 58kg and history against him, bookmakers at Ladbrokes.com.au have installed Chautauqua as the $2.20 early favourite for the Newmarket Handicap ahead of the Chris Waller trained three year old Japonisme at $4.20 and his arch rival Terravista at $5.
Japonisme has the advantage of only having to carry 52.5kg while 2014 Group 1 Darley Classic winner Terravista have been given the second top weight of 56.5kg.
The Waller trained Delectaiton is also likely to line up in the Newmarket Handicap with 56kg and the Shamardal four year old already has a win down the Flemington straight when he beat Chautauqau and Terravista in the 2015 Group 1 $1m Darley Classic (1200m).
Delectation is on the fourth line of betting at $8.
Newmarket Handicap market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $2.20 Chautauqua, $4.20 Japonisme, $5 Terravista, $8 Delectation, $10 Counterattack, $11 Kinglike, Supido, $15 Keen Array, $17 Black Heart Bart, Secret Agenda, The Quaterback, $34 Churchill Dancer, Puritan.