Promising sprinter Chautauqua will have the chance to record a second straight win at Group level after he was included in the field for the 2014 Gilgai Stakes that will be held at Flemington on Saturday.
Chautauqua won the Group 3 Hawkesbury Guineas (1400m) as a three-year-old, but produced the biggest win of his career to date with an explosive two and a half lengths win over Temple Of Boom in the Group 3 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) at Flemington on September 13.
Co-trainer Michael Hawkes told Racing Ahead that the entire stable was obviously impressed with the effort of Chautauqua in the Bobbie Lewis Quality and is happy with the condition of the Encosta De Lago gelding heading into the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) this weekend.
“Wayne is really happy with him down there,” Hawkes said.
“It was a superior win and his run was very, very good.
“We have kept him fresh and the horse is on song and he has just done really, really well.
“He has always been a good horse, we have always had the opinion, but we have just had to wait for him.”
Chautauqua has been included in the nominations for the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 24 and the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 8, but Team Hawkes are yet to decide where the four-year-old will head during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
Hawkes said that they will be taking it one start at a time with Chautauqua and he is of the opinion that the talented gelding will be an even better horse during the 2015 Autumn Racing Carnival.
“Mentally he wasn’t there last preparation and everyone saw what he did up here once the penny finally dropped,” Hawkes said.
“He will be even better again in the autumn, but to do what he did Saturday was very good and he has gone forward.
“Who knows where he could end up this spring.
“We are taking him one race at a time, but he is a horse that we have always felt has above average ability.”
The 2014 Gilgai Stakes has drawn a strong field of proven Group 1 performers and Chautauqua will have to perform at his best to record his second victory from as many starts this preparation.
Veteran sprinter Temple Of Boom finished second behind Chautauqua in the Bobbie Lewis Quality and he will also run in the Gilgai Stakes, while Stradbroke Handicap winner River Lad and The Goodwood winner Smokin’ Joey will start their 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaigns in the Group 2 event.