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Chautauqua left standing in the gate for a third time
From Deane Cummings: March 2018

The recent reluctance of champion thoroughbred Chautauqua to leave the barrier is certainly perplexing his Rosehill-based training triumvirate of Michael, Wayne and John Hawkes.

We would suggest that the Hawkes employ the most effective horse psychology known to man, except that Chautauqua is a gelding, so luring him with an attractive filly or mare would seem destined to failure.

Chautauqua is currently under a stewards' suspension for refusing to jump. The most recent incident was in a trial at Rosehill, which came right on the heels of two missed trial jumps at Randwick last week.

The "Grey Flash," as the seven-year-old sprinter by Encosta De Lago x Lovely Jubly is affectionately known, has an impressive pedigree full of champions of the track and the breeding sheds. He has won 13 times and placed on another 11 occasions.

His last win was the Group 1 T J Smith Stakes (1200 m) in April of 2017 and he won that race in 2016 and 2015, but his participation in this year's race on April 7 is very much in doubt until he can satisfy the stewards that he does not pose a danger to himself or any others than could be harmed in the barriers, or on the course.

If there were anything close to bearing a resemblance to a positive aspect for the Hawkes and the ownership group, it would be that six of Chautauqua's wins were at the Group 1 level and he has won almost $9 million dollars - Bookie Free Bonus Bets.

In other words, this is not some high-priced foal from the Inglis or Magic Millions bloodstock sale that never got out of the barn, such as Black Caviar's first foal, Oscietra, who has yet to justify her price.

The Hawkes are targeting the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200 m) at Moonee Valley on March 24, but as could well be imagined, there is more than a little concern over Chautauqua's unwillingness to leave the gate.

Prior to the recent three failures to launch, he did trial successfully at Warwick Farm in mid-February, where he ran third to Vellor and Peacock, but his previous four races did not produce any placings. He took part in the first running of The Everest, but he finished fourth to Redzel, Vega Magic and Brave Smash.

It could be the case that Chautauqua has decided, on his own, without consulting the Hawkes, that racing no longer appeals to him and this is his way of communicating that fact.

Some thoroughbreds have strong connections to their riders. It is possible that Chautauqua would like to have Dwayne Dunn back in the irons, but Brenton Avdulla is no mere apprentice, even though he is new to Chautauqua and the reluctance to jump issue arose when Avdulla took over. Dunn was on for the majority of Chautauqua's running, but Tommy Berry was steering for all three T J Smith Stakes wins.

That is mainly idle speculation, however, and it is certainly something of which the Hawkes would be cognizant.


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