Buzz could shake grey out of funk
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.
My ROSEBUD Tips:
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.