The world’s number one sprinter Chautauqua will bypass the Group 1 ¥212,280,000 Sprinters Stakes (1200m) at Nakayama Racecourse in Japan on October 2 and a chance to win a US$1m bonus and concentrate on the Melbourne Spring Carnival before returning to Hong Kong in December.
The Sprinters Stakes is part of the Global Sprint Challenge and Chautauqua was in line to collect a US$1m bonus which was on offer to any sprinter that won three selected Group 1 races in three different countries in the one year.
The Team Hawkes trained Chautauqua was eligible to win the bonus after winning the Group 1 $750,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington in February and the Group 1 HK$10,000,000 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) at Sha Tin in Hong Kong on May 1.
But connections have decided to campaign Chautauqua in Melbourne during the Spring before returning to Hong Kong for the Group 1 HK$18.5m Longines Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin on December 11.
“There was a lot of tossing and turning. It wasn’t an easy decision,” co-trainer Michael Hawkes said.
“He’s the best sprinter since Black Caviar and we want to do what’s right by the horse and we thought it best to showcase him here and then go back to Hong Kong.
“He’s been there before so we know he can handle the travel and it’s familiar to him.”
The Hawkes Racing Team have selected a three race Melbourne Spring Carnival program for Chautauqua and punters will see big grey sprinter step out in the Group 1 $450,000 Moir Stakes (1000m) and the Group 1 $1m Manikato Stakes (1200m) both at Moonee Valley followed by the Group 1 $1m Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington during Melbourne Cup week.
Five of Chautauqua’s nine wins have been at Group 1 level and as well as winning the Black Caviar Lightning and the Chairman’s Sprint Prize, the grey has collected the winner’s trophy for the $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on two occasions in 2015 and 2016 as well as winning the Manikato Stakes during the 2015 Melbourne Spring Carnival.