Chautauqua has emerged as a potential star and could clash with the country’s best sprinters in the Darley Classic after a scintillating win at Flemington.
The four-year-old gelding backed up his dominant Bobbie Lewis Quality win first-up with an even more impressive performance in Saturday’s Group Two Gilgai Stakes over the same 1200m straight course.
He left a field of sprinters, which included four Group One winners, in his wake as he put four lengths on his nearest rival Bounding with Final Crescendo another 1-3/4 lengths away third.
The TAB moved Chautauqua to equal favourite with Lankan Rupee for the Group One Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup carnival.
Wayne Hawkes, who trains the gelding in partnership with his father John and brother Michael, said the Emirates Stakes (1600m) was an option but the gelding could now be kept to the shorter trip this campaign and head towards the Darley Classic.
“He’s a Group One horse. He’s just got to go and do it,” Hawkes said.
“They might not have been the superstars but it will be a good race if he runs in the Darley Classic against all the good horses, wouldn’t it?”
Hawkes said they would consider their spring options but wouldn’t be worried taking on the top sprinters.
“You are not going to win by that (margin) every week but it’s always good to do that,” he said.
“There’s one guarantee, every week the bar raises so you need to be doing good things to end up here in four or five weeks time.”
The Hawkes team also trains exciting sprinting prospect Deep Field.
Hawkes said the penny had dropped with Chautauqua this campaign.
Jockey Dwayne Dunn said the decision on where Chautauqua heads next would be up to the trainers, but admitted he was enjoying riding the sprinter in the straight races.
“It’s all happened pretty quickly, and no doubt John (Hawkes) will point us in the right direction,” he said.