Chau­tauqua won’t fall Short in fea­ture

The Sportsman Weekend - - News - M AT T J O N E S

“T H E horse is a freak and that’s why he won that day”.

Co -t ra iner M ichael Hawkes has ever y rea­son to st il l ma r vel at what Chau­tauqua d id in w in­ning the TJ Sm ith Stakes the au­tumn at T he Cham­pi­onships.

“I watch it al l t he t i me,” he ad m it ted.

P r ior to that mem­o­rable w in he raced i n the G eorge Ry­der Stakes over 15 0 0m, just two weeks be­fore w inn ing the 12 0 0m featu re spr i nt.

Hawkes re­flected on what was goi ng on w it h t he sta r spr i nted who looked to have lost some of h is dash a f ter fa il i ng to w n h is prev ious t h ree spr nt races.

“We lways thought he’d get fu r t her,” he sa id.

t r ied some­thing. We went out­side the square and t hat ’s he big­gest th i ng w it h us. We had a go.

“You’ve got to take r isks and we took one. It d id n’t work so

changed tact and two weeks later he’s w inn ing a TJ wh ich is a ha rd th i ng to do.”

A nd when the $10m The Ever­est was an­nou nced ea rl ier in the year Team Hawkes had fur ther rea­sons to cou nt t hei r blessi ngs.

“It ’s ha rd be­cause here’s on ly a few races each yea for the el ite level. You’ve got ha nd icaps too l ike the New ma rket, but in t he spr i nt i ng ranks t here’s not a lot of races l i ke h is,” Hawkes sa id.

“W hen it was an­nounced that it was weight-for-age, wel l, of cou rse su ited a horse l i ke hi m a nd it ’s placed in t he r ight spot.”

Aust ra l ia’s h igh­est rated spr in­ter retu r ns th is week­end in T he Shor ts (110 0m) at Randw ick but it won’t be an easy as- sig nment as he takes on Engl ish, Fel l Swoop and Red zel.

Obv iously T Ever­est is h is ma i n ta rget t h is spr i ng, but de - spite not w inn ing is past two fi rst-up r u ns, Hawkes sa id the seven-yea r- old isn’t show­ing any sig ns of slow ing dow n.

“He’s for ward enough and has done ever yt h i ng r ight so it wou ld n’t su r pr ise me he i f d id wi n, but he’s got a lot of i mprove - ment lef t in hi m,” Hawkes sa id.

“He’s had cou­ple n ice t r ia ls and he’s done ever y th ing r ight.

“A lbeit t hey weren’t ha rd t r ia ls, but he’s worked rea l ly wel l and had a cou­ple of n ice ga lops so we’re look i ng for wa rd to Satu rday.

“He’s just menta l ly more matu re now. Phys­ica he looks t he same and is wel l, but he’s matu red h menta l att itude is st il l t here a nd he’s raci ng wel l so wh le hat’s hap­pen i we’l keep goi ng.”

Mea nwh i le, Red zel w l l l i ne up in T he Ever­est, ith James Har ron Blood­stock choos­ing the Team Snow­den-t ra iner r un­ner as its rep­re­sen­tat ive.

Owned by T riple Crown Synd icat ions, Red zel is a last-st ar t win­ner of the Group 3 Con­corde Sta kes.

“He’s a fa nt ast ica l ly br il l ia nt and con­sis­tent spr in­ter who has won or been sec­ond in 11 of h is last 13 st a r ts a nd was sci nt i l lat­ing un­der 6 0kg the Con­corde

t i me,” Ha ron sa id. “With Peter and Pau l Snow­den t ra in i ng, a long w it h Ker r in ( McEvoy) r id ing there’s a su­perb team beh ind Redzel for T he Ever­est.”

r iple Crow n’s Chr is Ward sa id Red zel had stepped up to a d i ffer­ent level t h is yea r.

“Train­ers Peter and Paul Snow­den told us early on he had stepped up to an­other level again this prepa­ra­tion and it’s an hon­our to have one of the very best sprint­ers in the land,” he said.

Cham­pion sprinter Chau­tauqua is fly­ing at track­work in the lead up to The Shorts.

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