Graff (left) takes out the San Domenico Stakes. Picture: AAP
Graff (left) takes out the San Domenico Stakes. Picture: AAP

Chautauqua decision on his career imminent

HAVE we seen the last of Chautauqua on the racetrack?

The Grey Flash surged into second place in a Rosehill barrier trial between races on Saturday.

But Racing NSW stewards and connections remain uncertain about the champion sprinter's future.

Chautauqua returns to his stall after his latest barrier glitch. Picture: Getty Images
Chautauqua returns to his stall after his latest barrier glitch. Picture: Getty Images

Chautauqua missed the start by about six lengths, after refusing to jump in six previous barrier trials.

The eight-year-old eventually left the barriers, chased the star-studded trial field, and nearly won.

Stewards had indicated if he didn't jump, they would refuse any future nominations for the horse to contest trials or races.

Racing NSW chief steward Marc Van Gestel is hoping to clarify Chautauqua's race future

as early as Monday.

"I will interview Team Hawkes and Chautauqua's owners (Monday) to determine if there is more information they want us to consider,'' he said. "I hope to make some sort of announcement as soon as possible.''

Despite Chautauqua's popularity with race fans, stewards are mindful of protecting punters.

Co-trainer Michael Hawkes said the stable wasn't making any comment on the Chautauqua issue until they had further discussions with stewards and owners.

Tommy Berry, who rode Chautauqua, couldn't mask his disappointment after the trial.

"He missed the start by a margin that was just too much,'' Berry conceded.

"When he did jump out he cruised around behind them and picked them up nicely in the straight with plenty left in the tank. It's still not ideal though and not good enough.''

Chautauqua showed he still has a zest for racing as he unleashed his famous sprint out wide.

"I was talking to Glyn Schofield after the trial and he saw me go past on the grey and said 'wow', how good is he going,'' Berry said.

"Glyn thought Chautauqua jumped with them because he cruised past so easily. He started 50m behind them and took 100m to get going and still picked them up. It's a shame.''


Tommy Berry and Chautauqua during Saturday’s crucial barrier trial at Rosehill Gardens.
Tommy Berry and Chautauqua during Saturday’s crucial barrier trial at Rosehill Gardens.



CHAUTAUQUA'S frustrating habit of not leaving the barriers could bring his celebrated race career to a premature end - but he showed in Saturday's trial that he still wants to be a racehorse.

The eight-year-old was turned out in magnificent condition by Team Hawkes and he hasn't lost his speed and power.

If this was Chautauqua's final racetrack appearance, then few will forget the champion's last-to-first finishing bursts to win his three successive TJ Smith Stakes (2015-16-17) and the Chairman's Sprint Prize in Hong Kong.



TEAM Hawkes unearthed a rising star in the talented Brutal, winner of the Mitchell McKenzie Stakes at Moonee Valley.

Brutal, who races in similar interests to Chautauqua, notched his second win from as many starts when he overcame a wide barrier and a tough run.

TAB Fixed Odds price assessors were so taken by Brutal's win they elevated the three-year-old to the top of betting at $6 alongside another The Autumn Sun with Graff next at $8 for the $1 million Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on September 22.

Brutal is a pronounced $5 favourite for the Group 1 $1 million Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 13 with The Auwithtumn Sun and Graff on the second line of betting at $13. This exciting trio are protecting unbeaten records going into the spring carnival.

Michael Hawkes, the co-trainer of Brutal, said no decision has been made about whether the colt is brought up to Sydney for the Golden Rose or if he stays in Melbourne and is set specifically for the Caulfield Guineas.


Jason Collett and Graff prove too powerful for their rivals in the San Domenico Stakes. Picture: AAP
Jason Collett and Graff prove too powerful for their rivals in the San Domenico Stakes. Picture: AAP



TRAINER Kris Lees has a three-year-old team to envy this season with Graff creating a big impression with his brilliant win in the San Domenico Stakes at Rosehill Saturday last Saturday.

Graff scored his third win from as many starts and will got to the Group 2 Run To The Rose next before the Golden Rose.

Lees also has promising Gem Song, unbeaten winner of his only two starts, in the Golden Rose mix with the colt likely to resume at Randwick next Saturday in a benchmark 74 race.

The champion Newcastle trainer also prepares boom three-year-old fillies, Smart Melody, who is protecting her unbeaten record in the Springtime Handicap at Wyong on Friday, and Miss Fabulass, the product of a mating between English superhorse Frankel and Lees's former champion filly Samantha Miss, who runs in the Group 2 Furious Stakes at Randwick.

Samantha Miss won the Furious Stakes during her Princess Series clean sweep 10 years ago.

Lees confirmed topliners Le Romain (Group 2 Tramway Handicap) and Prized Icon (Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes) will also run at Randwick next Saturday.


Kementari most likely to contest the Group 1 Memsie Stakes on Saturday.
Kementari most likely to contest the Group 1 Memsie Stakes on Saturday.



GODOLPHIN trainer James Cummings will nominate Kementari for the Tramway Handicap but hinted the four-year-old is most likely to contest the Group 1 Memsie Stakes at Caulfield instead.

Cummings said a decision on whether Kementari is aimed at the $13 million The Everest (1200m) at Royal Randwick on October 13 will be made after he runs next Saturday.

The Tramway will also feature fringe Everest contender Pierata against inaugural Everest winner Redzel and Invincible Star, with the latter duo having already been selected for the world's richest turf race.

The Memsie Stakes will also have an Everest presence with Vega Magic, who has been selected by slot-holder James Harron, lining up against the likes of Happy Clapper, another still in the Everest betting.

Trainer Darren Weir, who already has Brave Smash in The Everest, is hoping former Japanese sprinter Cassius can press his claims for the rich Randwick race in The Heath over 1200m Caulfield on Saturday while stablemate Nature Strip won't start again until the McEwen Stakes at Moonee Valley in two weeks.



CHABREET and Girl Tuesday only won maidens at Newcastle last Saturday but both look to have considerable potential.

The Peter and Paul Snowden-trained Chabreet, a three-year-old colt, won a 900m maiden in fast time and by a big margin but was never fully tested by his rider.

Girl Tuesday, by Winx's sire Street Cry out of multiple Group 1 winner Tuesday Joy raced by breeder John Singleton, is a four-year-old mare trained by Chris Waller and made her debut with a dominant win over 1400m.

Both Chabreet and Girl Tuesday won't be racing at the provincials for much longer.





It's a dead heat to my eye. Graff ran good time for the day owning the San Domenico in slashing style keeping his unbeaten record intact while the stylish import Avilius has a real x-factor about him and his nominations in the Metropolitan and Caulfield Cup are well earned.


Promising country mare Highway Sixtysix over-reacted to the ear muffs switching right off early in her race only to charge home late. We are still yet to see the best of her.


He's still a while off peaking but I was taken with the first up performance of the imported stayer Opposition. There might be something for him over the Melbourne Spring Carnival over a staying distance.


Young Sam Weatherley did a fantastic job on the well-tried Za Zi Ba. He angled her across from the outside barrier to rest in a stalking position. It was a perfect piece of navigation.


Monday: Dubbo

Tuesday: Tamworth, Lismore

Wednesday: Canterbury Park

Thursday: Wagga Wagga

Friday: Wyong, Goulburn

Saturday: Royal Randwick, Hawkesbury, Grafton, Mendooran

Sunday: Moree, Mudgee