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Image: Bruno Cannatelli

The MVRC is proud to announce the inaugural running of the Listed Chautauqua Stakes this Saturday 4 September – in honour of the sprinting legend Chautauqua, trained by Michael, Wayne and John Hawkes.

Chautauqua was a champion sprinter who won six Group 1 races whilst earning nearly $9 million in prizemoney. It is the perfect time to honour his great legacy with a race at The Valley, where he won two races – including his devastating win in the 2015 Manikato Stakes.

Run over 1200 metres on Cox Plate Qualifier Day each year, the Listed Chautauqua Stakes replaces the registered name of the Chandler Macleod Stakes, a previous sponsor of this race. The race has been run since 2012 at Listed level, with previous winners including Fell Swoop, Voodoo Lad, Brave Smash and Showmanship.

Chautauqua captured the hearts of racing and sporting fans alike throughout his decorated career. Although he only raced at The Valley four times, some of his most remarkable performances occurred at the track.

Chautauqua’s 2015 Manikato Stakes win is one of the most incredible seen over 1200 metres at The Valley. On an unforgettable night, those who were trackside saw ‘The Grey Flash’ storm home from last to claim victory – with jockey Tommy Berry standing high in the irons pointing to the heavens in memory of his late brother Nathan. It was a truly special performance and one of many moments throughout Chautauqua’s career that stood him above the rest.

Chautauqua had an enormous impact on his fans. He was a cult figure, a headline act and the ‘people’s horse.’ He will long be remembered as one of Australia’s most exciting racehorses ever to grace the track, with his incredible last-to-first racing style thrilling racegoers throughout his career.

Chautauqua defied the realms of possibility on many occasions, unleashing an electrifying turn of foot when coming from the tail of the field to quickly descend on his opposition. In addition to Chautauqua’s Manikato Stakes victory, his win in the 2015 McEwen Stakes was also an incredible performance that will forever live in our memories.

“He’s a once-in-a-lifetime horse, with a very unique personality… and that’s what made him so special,” says Chautauqua’s managing owner, Rupert Legh.

While the highs of Chautauqua’s career have been exhilarating, The Valley played host to two defining moments in his career. Chautauqua was sensationally scratched at the barriers in the 2017 Moir Stakes after he became fractious in the barriers. He developed an aversion to barriers from that day on, and it was back at The Valley on Moir Stakes night in 2018 that he had one final chance to return to racing. A specially organised barrier trial was organised to secure his ticket to run in the Manikato Stakes, but the big grey stood as the gates opened, thus writing the final chapter in his decorated racing career.

Still to this day, those two occasions are among the loudest roars ever heard on a racetrack, and they only further signify just how popular Chautauqua was with racing fans.

“Chautauqua was a very special racehorse who brought crowds to the track every time he raced,” said Michael Browell, MVRC CEO.

“He had one of the most incredible strides, coming from last with his barnstorming finishes to defeat high-quality Group 1 fields both here in Australia and in Hong Kong. His three T J Smith wins at Randwick along with his three other Group 1 wins stamped Chautauqua as one of the best sprinters in the world.

“The MVRC is honoured to name this race in his honour. We thank managing owner Rupert Legh and the Hawkes family for allowing the Club to host the Chautauqua Stakes here at The Valley this Saturday. We look forward to building on his legacy with this race in the years ahead.”

The Listed Ladbrokes Chautauqua Stakes will be run over 1200 metres on Saturday 4 September and will feature prizemoney of $160,000.

 
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