Buzz could shake grey out of funk

The Sportsman Weekend - - News - @NeilE­vans­mail Good Luck NEIL EVANS

DEAR Hawkes, Hawkes and Hawkes: What about tak­ing the mighty and now fa­mously stub­born grey Chau­tauqua back to the races in a last­ditch ef­fort to re­dis­cover his lost pas­sion for leav­ing the bar­rier?

Sim­u­lated race day, but with only one horse to his in­side and over just 400m so he gets an im­me­di­ate “buzz” and look at the fans and colour down fa­mous Royal Rand­wick out­side rail once that gate opens.

Seems to me it’s all too quiet and too bor­ing around at the 900m or 1000m marks.

I’m no Ein­stein of equine psy­cho­log­i­cal and “whis­per­ing” world, but it seems a horse that still looks a treat and is happy to bounce around to the bar­rier for a nor­mal trial has some­how lost that “match day” trig­ger.

Af­ter all, Chris Waller never hes­i­tates to give Winx an of­fi­cial gal­lop on race day just to re­mind the great mare what it’s all about and more so what’s com­ing up.

Just maybe it will work with Chau­tauqua be­cause af­ter six failed at­tempts to jump out clean, it’s fast be­com­ing a drawn-out PR “cir­cus,” with hard-core opin­ions split on whether the eight-year-old sprinter should keep try­ing, or be re­tired im­me­di­ately.

It’s nine months since Chau­tauqua was last seen at the races pow­er­ing home into fourth be­hind Redzel in Group 1 Dar­ley Clas­sic on the fi­nal day of the Flem­ing­ton Cup Car­ni­val; and it’s more than 16 months since his last, and per­haps great­est win, when he flew home from a near im­pos­si­ble po­si­tion un­der 58.5kgs to win a third Group 1 T. J. Smith at Rand­wick.

Horse break­ers and in­dus­try spe­cial­ists be­lieve the big grey is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a “stress freeze,” but most will tell you this beat­able be­cause the horse is not suf­fer­ing in any way, rather de­vel­op­ing a builtin “trig­ger” that au­to­mat­i­cally re­sponds the same way ev­ery time to en­vi­ron­ment.

That’s why a shorter race­day ex­pe­ri­ence with the crowd in sight may just re­dis­cover that lost art.

How about Au­gust 18 just be­fore the Group 1 Winx Stakes when crowd is at its big­gest?

Re­gard­less, con­nec­tions will have to get the next move right be­cause NSW stew­ards are al­most out of pa­tience and on the verge is­su­ing an of­fi­cial em­bargo.

Reg­u­lar rider Tommy Berry told me yes­ter­day he is sim­ply main­tain­ing an open mind and leav­ing it all in the hands of Chau­tauqua’s con­nec­tions.

Back on the track, and the Listed Rose­bud (1100m) at Rose­hill to­mor­row sig­nals first step on the three-year-old Triple Crown path with high­class colts Leg­end Of Con­dor, Out­ra­geous and Sand­bar all re­sum­ing. And at first glance, I must be miss­ing some­thing.

How in god’s name has Out­ra­geous (a sta­ble­mate to Chau­tauqua) come up $13.00 or longer in early mar­kets?

Okay he’s more of a sec­ondup colt and, on face value, will find it tough keep­ing up with a few of these more nat­u­ral sprint­ing types but boy if he’s within a cou­ple of lengths from the top at the 250m, look out.

First-up as a two-year-old last prep, Out­ra­geous came from well back to run Siz­zling Belle to a neck over the same track and trip.

While this is tougher and he may well be a touch more dour hav­ing come through a deep and high-class Autumn prep up to the mile, he came from mile back to hit the line nicely in a re­cent 730m trial that was run fairly quick time sug­gest­ing he’s on track for a big re­turn.

No doubt dom­i­nant last­start Rand­wick win­ner and favourite Plague Stone ($2.70) and the re­turn­ing pair Leg­ends Of Con­dor ($9.00) and Sand­bar ($7.50) – who both tri­alled well but have drifted early – will be stiff op­po­si­tion; there should gen­uine pres­sure up­front and this could all play into the lap of Out­ra­geous late.


1. OUT­RA­GEOUS; 2. Plague Stone; 3. Sand­bar; 4. Leg­end Of Con­dor

Else­where, pun­ters can get rolling early aboard nice mare Nicci’s Gold ($4.00) in Race 2 who is on the seven day back-up af­ter hav­ing no luck late over 1800m at Rand­wick last Satur­day but, up in trip here and look­ing well placed un­der this BM 78 weight dis­tri­bu­tion, she can sa­lute big time.

Here are my Early Mail Value Selects for Rose­hill:

Race 1 2. TA­BLE MOUN­TAIN** Ex­pect: $3.85 – $4.00 My Early Rat­ing: $2.60

Race 1 10. LOVE FOR WIL­LOW (E/W)* Ex­pect: $12.00 – $13.00 My Early Rat­ing: $6.15

Race 2 7. NICCI’S GOLD** Ex­pect: $3.85 – $4.00 My Early Rat­ing: $2.45

Race 2 3. BRACES (E/W)* Ex­pect: $7.25 – $7.50 My Early Rat­ing: $4.90

Race 4 5. ISTRIA** Ex­pect: $3.85 – $4.00 My Early Rat­ing: $2.85

The team Hawkes-trained Chau­tauqua failed to leave the bar­ri­ers for a sixth time.

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