Co-trainer Wayne Hawkes has confirmed that Chautauqua will be included in the 2016 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes field that will be released later this morning.
Team Hawkes have been non-committal about their plans for Chautauqua this preparation, but the talented sprinter impressed with his performance in a jump out at Flemington last Friday and that convinced the stable to include the son of Encosta De Lago in the acceptances for the Group 1 event.
Hawkes said that the stable could still decide to pull Chautauqua out in the lead-up to the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes, but he told Racing Ahead that at this stage his star galloper would contest the $750,000 event.
“We didn’t have to run in the Lightning, we could have won in the Newmarket first-up and there is a race in Sydney on the same day, so every option was an option,” Hawkes said.
“At the end of the day when you have these horses you have to put the horse first and the owners are just fantastic, they will let you do what you want.
“He only had a jump out on Friday and we just wanted to make sure that he was right.
“It is going to be a good race there is no doubt about that.
“Chautauqua will run well.”
Chautauqua has recorded two wins at Group 1 level in the T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) and Manikato Stakes (1200m) last year, but he is yet to salute at the highest level of racing down the famous Flemington straight.
Hawkes believes that it was tactics that saw Chautauqua beaten in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) last year as well as the past two editions of the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) and he admits that jockey Dwayne Dunn will have to get his tactics right to steer Chautauqua to victory in the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes.
“They are tricky races and that has been half his undoing up the straight,” Hawkes said.
“I don’ t think that anybody would dispute that he is the best horse up the straight that we have seen for a fair while, but he has just been in the wrong spot.
“He drew inside when the outside was on and vice versa.
“You don’t know where these jockeys will go and why they go where they go.
“It is tactics and we have had the best horse up the straight and we didn’t win a Newmarket and he hasn’t won a Darley.
“You wouldn’t believe that Chautauqua would get beaten in three of those races and he has.
“Dwayne Dunn has to get it right and he has to get the score on the board.”
Team Hawkes are chasing their first win in the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes since Sports took out the 2001 edition of the race.