Co-trainer Wayne Hawkes has confirmed that Chautauqua remains likely to make the trip to Hong Kong for the 2015 Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin on December 13.
Chautauqua suffered the first defeat of his 2015 Spring Racing Carnival campaign when he was upset by Delectation in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington on Saturday, but Hawkes told Racing Ahead this morning that the five-year-old remained a 70% chance to make his international racing debut in the Hong Kong Sprint – although he revealed that the stable would hesitate to call off the trip at any time.
“Even if he had won and won by two lengths, we’d still be in the same situation we’re in right now,” Hawkes said.
“That is, we need to see how he pulls up to go forward because it’s even a bigger call and a whole different ball game going to Hong Kong because you struggle to have a spell when you get back.
“If you make somewhere like the TJ Smith again, you’re only just getting there in the nick of time.
“It’s easy going across to Flemington and Moonee Valley and Sydney.
“He’s got to travel and acclimatise and get on a plane, which he’s never done.
“To be fair, we only want to go if we think we’re a dead set good thing.
“At the moment we’re still going ahead, but we only need one small thing to pull the plug.
“There’s a stack of prizemoney here in Australia as well.”
Chautauqua went into the Darley Classic as a dominant fashion after he took out the Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on September 5, 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 arguably caught in the worst part of the track and he was unable to match Delectation in the final stages of the race.
Hawkes was obviously disappointed to see Chautauqua get beaten, but he said that the son of Encosta De Lago had not taken any physical harm from the defeat.
“He pulled up how he normally does,” Hawkes said.
“The end result is there’s no point crying over spilt milk.
“We weren’t good enough on the day and that’s what mattered.
“I’d rather be training Chautauqua than not.”
Chautauqua could be joined in the Hong Kong Sprint field by Terravista, who finished a close third in the Darley Classic.