He rose to prominence on the back of outstanding performances in Melbourne, but Chautauqua can use his return to Sydney to score the win that will consolidate his position as one of the world’s best sprinters.
That’s the opinion of the gelding’s co-trainer Michael Hawkes, who is charged with overseeing the final stages of his preparation for Saturday’s T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick.
The $2.5 million Group 1 will be the son of Encosta de Lago’s first start in New South Wales since last May, but Hawkes has no fears for him racing right-handed or the likelihood of having to do so on a wet track.
“This is the race we’ve set him for all along,” Hawkes told Racing.com’s Racing Ahead of RSN.
“He gets through the wet ground – he should have probably won a Gosford Guineas on a wet track – and he’s raced this way of going.
“He arrived here Monday in Sydney and looks sensational. He’s just gone back into his old routine and his work on Tuesday was outstanding, to put it short.”
After winning his maiden at Geelong last March, Chautauqua was sent north to contest New South Wales’ strong regional Guineas circuit and after a second on a Heavy 10 track at Gosford (1200m) he won the Hawkesbury Guineas (1400m) before finishing fifth in the Scone Guineas (1400m).
Each of his starts this season has been in Melbourne with his Spring campaign comprising two explosive straight-track wins at Flemington before a luckless second in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) at the same track.
WATCH: Chautauqua’s Newmarket Handicap run
He resumed this campaign with a narrow-but-impressive win in the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield and was again second at Group 1 level in the Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m), won by Brazen Beau.
Chautauqua had trouble gaining a clear run from barrier three in the Newmarket, but has drawn gate nine in the T.J. Smith Stakes, in which Sydney star Tommy Berry will replace regular Melbourne jockey Dwayne Dunn.
Hawkes said the wide draw was more suited to his racing style and out wide could be the place to be with a soft track expected.
“He’s drawn a bit awkward, but the way it’s going to play it’s probably going to be the best part (of the track),” he said.
“Last start he drew in, we wanted to draw out, and he got hemmed up and couldn’t get out and then when he did get out you really saw him explode.
“It’s just going to be a matter of him jumping, getting in the right rhythm – it doesn’t matter where he is in running so long as he’s relaxed and so long as Tommy can keep him balanced – because he’s got a big straight where he can wind up and really let down.”
WATCH: Chautauqua win first-up in the Rubiton Stakes