By Brad Gray
The grey flash Chautauqua will return to Randwick for the first time since his stunning TJ Smith Stakes win last year, when he lines up in the $500,000 Group One BMW Canterbury Stakes (1300m).
The six-year-old was a late nomination for The Star Doncaster Mile over The Championships and a logical stepping stone to that assignment would be via the George Ryder Stakes which would set up a mouth-watering clash with Winx.
“(The Canterbury Stakes) is just the right race for him at this point in time but we didn’t know that until after his first-up run so who knows, it might change again after Saturday where he goes,” said co-trainer Michael Hawkes.
Chautauqua arrived in Sydney on Tuesday morning after running third in the Rubiton Stakes as a warm favourite, but recording his final 600m in 33.19 seconds, and Hawkes was impressed with what he saw when Chautauqua got off the truck.
“He certainly does look as well as ever,” Hawkes said.
“He is chewing my hat off as we speak so he is ready to go.”
A wet Randwick is “no issue” for the world’s highest rated sprinter according to the stable, having proved early in his career in the Gosford Guineas that he can get through any conditions.
Chautauqu's heavy track run as a three-year-old
Meanwhile, Inference, who is on the third line of betting at $6 with TAB in an open edition of the Group One Girvan Waugh Randwick Guineas (1600m), produced an eye-catching return in the Hobartville Stakes a fortnight ago.
“He was only first-up with a long preparation ahead of him so it was a nice run.”
“It is his first time to Sydney so he is still learning all the time, which is the best part about him. “The wet track holds no fears either,” Hawkes added.
Inference's fifth in the Hobartville
Inference is currently the $10 favourite with TAB for the Australian Derby, while Chautauqua is rated an $11 chance in early Doncaster betting.
— Hawkes Racing (@HawkesRacing) March 1, 2017