Connections happy with Chautauqua
'Team Chautauqua' have insisted their world champion sprinter ran a good race despite finishing third in the Rubiton Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday.
The defeat was Chautauqua's third on the bounce, which led pundits and punters alike to question the horse's form and application.
However owner Rupert Legh insisted that Chautauqua "ran enormous" in the Rubiton and also shrugged off his disappointing form of the spring when he was beaten twice at Moonee Valley.
He ran a huge race in the Rubiton. He ran the fastest last 800m, 600m, 400m and 200m. He was the fastest horse to race at Caulfield on the day.Wayne Hawkes
Co-trainer Wayne Hawkes agreed, even speculating that the Doncaster Mile would be a race within Chautauqua's grasp.
Chautauqua is not an original Doncaster entry and connections would have to explore late entry options if they elected to stretch the horse to 1600m.
"I was probably talking a bit flippantly on Saturday when I said he might be better off in the Doncaster than the T.J. Smith (1200m) but the bottom line is the horse is searching for more ground," Hawkes said.
"He ran a huge race in the Rubiton. He ran the fastest last 800m, 600m, 400m and 200m. He was the fastest horse to race at Caulfield on the day."
As for where Chautauqua heads next, Hawkes has not ruled out a start in the upcoming Newmarket Handicap at Flemington, although conceded it was not likely.
Races such as the George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on 18th March, meaning a clash with Winx, are options, but Hawkes said it was 'most unlikely' Chautauqua would take on Black Heart Bart in the Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on 25th February.
"Going from 1100m to 1400m, might be a bit of an ask," he admitted.
Chautauqua is 11/2 to win the T.J. Smith, while Astern is 5/1.
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