The world’s highest rated sprinter Chautauqua unleashed a sizzling final gallop that will guarantee he will be sent out as the short priced favourite for the Group 1 HK$10,000,000 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) at Sha Tin in Hong Kong on Sunday.
The Team Hawkes trained Chautauqua is currently at the short quote of $2.30 at Ladbrokes.com.au with his nearest Chariman’s Sprint Prize rivals, fellow Australian sprinter Buffering and local hope Aerovelocity at $6.
Chautauqua reeled off some incredible sectional times in his 1000m gallop at Sha Tin on Tuesday morning, breaking 11 seconds for both his last two 200m, clocking 10.9 seconds from the 400m to the 200m and then a slightly faster last 200m at 10.4 seconds.
The steely grey ran an overall time of 1.2.3 seconds for the 1000m and trainer Michael Hawkes was happy with the hit out.
“He worked really well. I’m sure the sectionals will be quick but really the time is immaterial with a horse like this,” Hawkes told the Chairman’s Sprint Prize News.
“We know he can run time. He’s got a massive stride and he really lowers himself, like a Ferrari, when he’s at full stretch.”
“It’s more about how he pulls up; he had a bit of a blow but he’s fine, perfect.”
On a hot and humid morning, Chautauqua had a tendency to sweat up during and after his workout, but Hawkes was unperturbed.
“He sweated up but that’s no issue. It’s a natural function of exercise in the warm weather,” Hawkes said.
“It’s only a worry if they sweat up and they’re all revved up but he’s perfectly relaxed.”
In Australia Chautauqua is trained under the Team Hawkes banner with John, Wayne and Michael as co-trainers, but in Hong Kong training partnership are aren’t sanctioned and the five year old will race on Sunday with Michael Hawkes listed as the trainer.
Tommy Berry won the battle for the prized ride on Chautauqua over Melbourne jockey Dwayne Dunn.
Berry has had four rides on Chautauqua for three wins and a placing all at Group 1 level while Dunn has been in the saddle on twelve occasions for six wins with the $750,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington on February 20 the only time the pair combined for a Group 1 win.
Berry and Chautauqua teamed up to score a stunning last to first victory in the Group 1 $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on the first day of ‘The Championships’ on April 2, giving the pair back to back wins in Sydney’s Autumn Carnival feature weight for age sprint.
Their other Group 1 win was in the $1m Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley during the 2015 Melbourne Spring Carnival while the only time the pair tasted defeat together was when third behind Dissident and Wandjina in the 2015 Group 1 $400,000 Schweppes All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick.
Chautauqua is a recognized backmarker but Berry did notice that there hasn’t been a lot of winners coming from back in the field in recent sprint races at Sha Tin.
“They haven’t been coming from behind that well in the sprint races here lately. But I think he is pretty good, he can run very quick time, which is how he wins his races,” Berry said.
“He is coming here in tip top order, the track is not going to worry him. The wet is not going to worry him if it is wet on the day.”
“He will have no excuses, if he is good enough he will win.”
Chairman’s Sprint Prize market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $2.30 Chautauqua, $6 Buffering, Aerovelocity, $8 Thewizardofoz, Gold Fun, $10 Lucky Bubbles, $13 Peniaphobia, $31 Not Listenin’tome, Amazing Kids, Mongolian Saturday, $67 Divine Boy, $101 Strathmore, Charles The Great, Super Jockey, I’m In Charge, $151 Key Witness.