Jockey Dwayne Dunn is certain that the real Chautauqua will step out in the Group 1 $1m Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on Friday night.
Chautauqua resumed for the Spring with a disappointing fourth as the odds on favourite to the three year old Extreme Choice in the Group 1 $500,000 Charter Keck Cramer Moir Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on September 30 but Dunn said the grey flash would be better suited over the 1200m this week.
“The 1000m was probably not ideal for him first-up. He’s had his trip overseas, there’s a few little knocks on him,” Dunn said.
“The 1200m is what he’s looking for – back to the Valley, 1200m, good speed on, and I think you’ll see the real Chautauqua.”
The Team Hawkes trained Chautauqua was rated the best sprinter in the world after a last to first win in the Group 1 HK$10,000,000 Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) at Sha Tin in Hong Kong on May 1.
But after settling in his familiar position at the back of the field in the Moir Stakes, Chautauqua was unable to reel in his lightly weighted rivals at the end of the 1000m.
Dunn expects the six year old to be back to his best on Friday night and return to the Group 1 winner’s stall with back to back wins in the Manikato Stakes after beating Srikandi and Rebel Dame last year.
“This is what we expect him to do – turn up, and be as dominant as he was last year,” Dunn said.
Co-trainer Wayne Hawkes agrees with Dunn and is also expecting a return to form from the stables’ number one sprinter stepping back up to the 1200m..
“He is going to be better in the Manikato, you don’t lose ability and talent,” Wayne Hawkes said.
“The 1200m will suit him better.”
Queensland sprinter Buffering is also chasing a second Manikato Stakes victory after collecting the winning cheque in 2013 and finished beside Chautauqua when fifth in the Moir Stakes last start.
Trainer Robert Heathcote is also predicting a better showing from the front running Buffering who he said will strip a lot fitter on Friday night as he lines up against Hawkes’ grey flyer again.
“He was too fat and we haven’t missed since and he will be ready to go on Friday,” Heathcote said.
“I don’t know if that will be enough to beat Chautauqua but he is going to give him something to chase.”
While Extreme Choice won’t be lining up in the Manikato Stakes, the older horses will still have to contend with the Peter and Paul Snowden trained three year old Capitalist who only has to carry 53kg under the weight for age scale.
Capitalist was defeated for a second time since winning the Group 1 $3.5m Longines Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill in March when third to stablemate Russian Revolution in the Group 2 $300,000 The Star Roman Consul (1200m) at Randwick on October 1.
Chautauqua sits at the top of the market order for the Manikato Stakes at $2.10 at Ladbrokes.com.au with Capitalist the second pick at $5.50 ahead of English and Lucky Hussler at $8.
Early Market order for the Manikato Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au: $2.10 Chautauqua, $5.50 Capitalist, $8 English, Lucky Hussler, $11 Buffering, $13 Holler, $21 Under The Louvre, $26 Rebel Dane, $31 Japonisme, $101 O’Malley.