Chautauqua: bids to take next step towards million-dollar bonus
PICTURE: Getty Images
Preview: Hong Kong, Sunday 8.30am GMT/ATR
Sha Tin: Chairman’s Sprint Prize (Group 1) 6f, 3yo+
AUSTRALIA’S latest speed star Chautauqua puts his Royal Ascot credentials, and a tilt at a million-dollar bonus, on the line when he makes his overseas debut in the HK$10 million (£875,656) Chairman’s Sprint Prize at Sha Tin.
Win this, a newly-opened Group 1 event and the Global Sprint Challenge’s fourth-leg replacement for Singapore’s defunct KrisFlyer Sprint, and Chautauqua (Michael Hawkes/Tommy Berry) will head for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.
Victory there would earn connections the Challenge bonus for wins in three different jurisdictions, after he produced his trademark storming late finish to land Randwick’s TJ Smith Stakes for the second year running a fortnight ago. That fourth Group 1 success cemented his place as the highest-rated sprinter in the World’s Best Racehorse Rankings for the period from January 1.
However, to win this Chautauqua will have to overcome his own hold-up running style, which rarely prevails over the Sha Tin course and distance, and also three of the next four in the current international rankings – January’s Centenary Sprint Cup winner Aerovelocity (Paul O’Sullivan/Zac Purton), Al Quoz Sprint winner Buffering (Robert Heathcote/Damien Browne) and smart local Notlistenin’tome (John Moore/James McDonald).
Also on Sunday
Sha Tin: Champions Mile (Group 1) 1m, 3yo, 9.10 am BST/ATR
WITH Ryan Moore otherwise engaged at Newmarket, Hong Kong’s leading rider Joao Moreira has been called up as Maurice, Japan’s Horse of the Year, bids to extend his unbeaten sequence for trainer Noriyuki Hori to seven on his first run in 140 days in the Champions Mile (9.10am BST/ATR).
Moreira had a close-up view of Moore’s artistry that day, beaten about a length into third on the below-par Able Friend, with Richard Gibson-trained Giant Treasure, on whom Olivier Peslier takes over from Christophe Soumillon on Sunday, running on stoutly to split the pair.
Moreira knows about most of the opposition, having ridden Gun Pit (Caspar Fownes/Vincent Ho) and Rewarding Hero (John Moore/Tommy Berry) last time out and Contentment (John Size/Brett Prebble) and Packing Pins (Ricky Yiu/Gerald Mosse) earlier this season.
Maurice, who completed his preparation around the Sha Tin all-weather track on Saturday, finishing off strongly, prompting Moreira to say: “That wasn’t to get him fit, he’s already fit. It was more to give me a feel of the horse, and he moves like a real champion.”
Champion or not, Maurice will need to be at or near his best to beat Contentment (Brett Pebble/John Size), Giant Treasure (Olivier Peslier/Richard Gibson), Beauty Flame (Tony Cruz/Matthew Chadwick) and Beauty Only (Tony Cruz/Neil Callan).
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