Co-trainer Wayne Hawkes has revealed that Chautauqua is now a 90% chance to contest the 2015 Hong Kong Sprint, but he remains adamant that he will not hesitate to pull the pin on the trip to Hong Kong.
Chautauqua was narrowly denied by Delectation in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 7, but he came through the run without any issues and he has remained in work ahead of the Hong Kong Sprint.
Hawkes told Racing Ahead that at this stage the plan remained to send Chautauqua on his maiden overseas trip for the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin on December 13, but he said that he will need to make sure everything is 100 percent in order before he puts the son of Encosta De Lago on the plane.
“He trot and cantered around nicely this morning,” Hawkes said.
“At this stage we are still heading to Hong Kong, but we are under no illusions that he is not getting on that plane unless he is 110% spot-on.
“We won’t be going unless every box is completely ticked, but so far so good.
“We want to go and win and we want to tick every box.
“We are giving up Newmarket Handicap’s, Lightning Stakes’ and stuff like that.
“At the end of the day they are big calls and you are trying to make the right decision.
“You have to look after your horses and do the right thing by your horses.
“Monday the 30th will be the day and if he isn’t right on the 29th he won’t be going.
“It is going to be pretty tough to put him on a plane and go to Hong Kong.”
Chautauqua started his 2015 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a victory in the Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on September 5 and he went on to take out the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on October 4 and the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 23, but he was beaten as a short-priced favourite in the Darley Classic.
Hawkes said that he was obviously disappointed not to win the Darley Classic with Chautauqua, but he was still happy with the performance of the five-year-old in the Group 1 event.
“You are disappointed when you are getting beat by a nose and when two strides after the post you are in front again, but the winning post is the winning post,” Hawkes said.
“It is like getting beaten by one point with your favourite team – you are so near, but you are so far.
“You would still rather run like that than get beat eight lengths because if he had been beaten eight lengths he would be in the paddock now and we wouldn’t be in the position we are in now.
“He got beaten in the race last year and he has done it again this year, but he couldn’t perform any better than what he has done.”
Chautauqua is currently available at 2015 Hong Kong Sprint odds of $1.95 and he is a dominant favourite from Gold-Fun ($4), Peniaphobia ($5), Straight Girl ($12) and Sole Power ($13).