Jockey Dwayne Dunn concedes that champion sprinter Chautauqua will need to be at his best to win Friday night’s Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley, after drawing into the talent-rich field on the rails.
Chautauqua has been the benchmark for the world’s sprinters for the best part of a year, but the multiple Group 1 winner failed to make up the distance in the late stages of the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m) first-up and finished fourth behind Extreme Choice.
Revealing that he would have preferred to have drawn any of the ten other alleys on offer at this morning’s Manikato Stakes barrier draw, Dunn told Racing Ahead that the early stages of the race will dictate how he will ride Chautauqua on Friday.
“It is what it is and I just have to deal with the issues that surround me now,” Dunn said.
“It would have been nice to draw in the middle of them or just a bit wider, because you like to get him into clear running and wind them in.
“It just changes the dynamics of the race a little bit now and I’ve got a job ahead of me to work out which way is going to be the best option.
“He probably has to slice up underneath a couple going through the corner I would suggest but if they do go fast enough, it will give me the option to go around them.
“It looks like Buffering finds the top, Capitalist sits outside him and the rest find formation. It might be break-neck speed early and that will change where I have to be and what I need to do.”
Dunn is thrilled with Chautauqua’s condition leading into the Manikato Stakes and believes that the horse will be far-better suited to the conditions of the race, than he was the Moir Stakes three weeks ago.
“I’m pretty happy with where he is in his life. 1200m suits him so much better, he’ll get a chance to travel and hopefully you’ll see the grey flash charge straight down the centre,” he said.
Chautauqua has posted an impressive twelve wins and eight minors through his twenty-three career starts to date, highlighted by five scintillating Group 1 triumphs.
Resuming this year for a classy win in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m), Chautauqua placed third in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) before successfully defending his crown in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m), on Day 1 of The Championships.
Set on his first task abroad, the Encosta De Lago gelding justified Team Hawkes’ decision to travel when he swallowed up a field of the world’s best sprinters to win the Group 1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) in Hong Kong on May 1st.
Chautauqua is currently available at 2016 Manikato Stakes odds $2.25 with Ladbrokes Australia.