Chautauqua has produced his champion qualities with a fighting victory at Flemington to remain unbeaten in his spring campaign.
The Hawkes Racing-trained sprinter was sent out the odds-on favourite in Sunday’s Group Two Gilgai Sprint (1200m).
But Dwayne Dunn found himself boxed in on the 1.30 chance before negotiating a passage between horses and Chautauqua did the rest, winning by a length from Delectation ($31) with Knoydart ($19) a half-neck away third.
Dunn admitted to being panicked with around 200m to run.
“You’re the kingpin horse in the race and everyone wants to know where you are,” Dunn said.
“I wanted to get a bit of cover behind Churchill Dancer and then I had those other two smash up outside me.
“I was panicking. I thought I would be able to get clean air and away we would go.
“Good horses get you out of trouble.”
Chatauqua’s managing owner Rupert Legh is keen to get the six-year-old to the Hong Kong International meeting in December and has also flagged a trip to Royal Ascot next year.
But first there is the Darley Classic and another clash with Terravista, winner of Saturday’s Premiere Stakes at Randwick.
The Joe Pride-trained Terravista, who beat Chautauqua in the 2014 Darley, is also earmarked for a start in the Hong Kong International Sprint.
“We wanted to get to this race today and see where he really was,” Legh said.
“We want to go to Hong Kong. That will give him the experience of travelling. And if all goes well, the intention is to go to Ascot.”
Dunn said Chautauqua had made improvement from his first-up success at Moonee Valley and his new-found maturity helped the six-year-old on Sunday.
“He’s so relaxed now,” Dunn said.
“He’s taking everything in his stride now. As was documented last time they were the things getting him beaten.”
Co-trainer Wayne Hawkes said Chautauqua’s turn of foot was able to turn a difficult situation around.
“Once he gets a clear run he runs home in some pretty silly times that not many horses can do,” Hawkes said.