Chautauqua to Defend Crown in 2016 TJ Smith Stakes

January 14th, 2016

Co-trainer Wayne Hawkes has been pleased with the returning condition of star sprinter Chautauqua and has confirmed the talented gelding will be set for a defence of his crown in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) during The Championships 2016 this season.

Chautauqua will be set on a course towards the 2016 TJ Smith Stakes upon his racing resumption. Photo: Ultimate Racing Photos

Chautauqua will be set on a course towards the 2016 TJ Smith Stakes upon his racing resumption. Photo: Ultimate Racing Photos

Posting an exceptional nine wins and seven minors through eighteen career starts so far, Chautauqua returned during the recent Spring Carnival for consecutive wins in the Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m) and Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m); progressing to a second win at the highest level in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) before running an agonizingly-close second in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) most recently on November 7th.

Unlucky to miss a trip abroad in December to contest the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) with a minor ailment, Hawkes told Racing Ahead the son of Encosta De Lago has completely overcome his injury and will target a second-consecutive win in the 2016 TJ Smith Stakes.

“We haven’t really decided where he is going to kick off (but) he’s definitely going to be trying to go back-to-back TJ’s,” Hawkes said.

“The Lightning will come too quick probably … stats and figures will tell you it’s a pretty hard thing to do, win a Newmarket first-up.

“He might not even have another run in Melbourne, he might run in Sydney first-up and then go to the T J … bring him through an easier race and then take on the big boys.”

Team Hawkes remain confident Chautauqua is the world benchmark for sprinting and will seriously consider a mid-year trip to Royal Ascot for a tilt at the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes (1200m).

“There is a race in Hong Kong in May, there’s a little race in Ascot in June,” Hawkes said.

“He’s had his needles and everything to go to Hong Kong, so he’s fully ready to go, so there’s certainly the chance he could go to Hong Kong in May and then onto England in June.”

Unlucky not to break through for a maiden win at the highest level through a standout 2014 Spring Carnival campaign, Chautauqua returned to racing in 2015 in typically form; winning the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) first-up and running second in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) leading into his triumph in the TJ Smith Stakes.

Ladbrokes.com.au is currently offering the best early 2016 TJ Smith Stakes odds, for which Chautauqua can be taken at a quote of $4 for success.