The solidly backed Chautauqua stamped himself as a serious Spring Carnival contender with an explosive win in the Group 3 $150,000 Bobby Lewis Quality (1200m) at Flemington today.
The Team Hawkes trained Chautauqua was well supported in the bookies’ ring to start the $5.50 favourite in a wide betting race and gave punters no concerns what so ever when he exploded away from the rest of the field at the 250m mark.
Winning jockey Dwayne Dunn settled the four year old near the tail as the huge field as it thundered up the Flemington straight and picked his time perfectly to release the brakes on the lightly raced Encosta De Lago gelding who raced away from Temple Of Boom ($10) to score by two and half lengths with In Cahoots ($21) filling the third spot. .
Chautauqua had only won two races from his seven starts before heading to Flemington but Dunn said that he should have won his last start when fifth to Cosmic Endeavour in the $400,000 Inglis 3yo Guineas (1400m) at Scone on May 17.
“Very good this. He has a fair bit of attitude. I should have won the Scone Guineas on him, but we always thought he was very nice horse but today he really launched off the back of them,” Dunn said.
“He just towed me really solidly from the 400m and when I come out he went that quick that he probably got there a little bit too soon but he finished the race off the way you really like him to.”
“Obviously he wants further than what you’ve seen today, it was a very good win.”
Winning part owner Rupert Legh agrees with Dunn and said that Chautauqua would now step up in distance and target the 1600m Group 1s over the Carnival.
The Group 1 $500,000 The Star Epsom (1600m) at Randwick is run on October 4 while the Group 1 $1m Emirates Stakes (1600m) will be run at Flemington on November 8, the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
“John (Hawkes) has always had a massive opinion of the horse. Even as a late two year old and three year old, he said Rup you just have to put this horse away and he will just get better and better this preparation.”
“I still think in the Autumn he will be a better horse, but he was half expecting it, he has a massive opinion.””
“We’ve got over stage one and we are still think he is capable of winning a Group 1.”
“At this stage we want to go up to a mile, target the Epsom, maybe the Emirates, one of those. But they have a big opinion of the horse.”
The win of Chautauqua wrapped up a great day for Legh who was also shares in the ownership of the Mike Moroney trained Merion who took out the Listed $120,000 Living Legends Stakes (1400m).