The $10,000,000 The Everest Is Looming – So Too Is Chautauqua
The Everest (1200m) is looming and so too is Chautauqua (Encosta De Lago), his stunning sectional times in Saturday’s The Shorts (Gr 2, 1100m) indicating the multiple Group One winner is primed for a bold performance in that $10,000,000 race at Randwick on 14 October.
Having his first start since his brilliant last-to-first victory in the T J Smith Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m) at Randwick on 1 April, Chautauqua was again settled at the tail of the field on Saturday.
In fact he was still last at the 200 metres mark, before Brenton Avdulla switched the grey deeper and in typical fashion, Chautauqua stormed home for seventh, beaten just over two lengths, but he was in front not too far past the post.
Chautauqua produced a 200 metre breakdown for the final 1000 metres that showed sub-11.00 timings for each of the five sections, a rare occurrence and one that On The Watch has not observed since this column commenced in August 2012, with Chautauqua’s 200 metre times being: 10.76, 10.54, 10.67, 10.58 and 10.84.
That gave the six-time Group One winning sprinter a final 1000 metre time of 53.39, with his last 800 metres in 42.63 and last 400 metres in 21.42 – with an average 200 metre rate of 10.67 for the 1000 metres.
Those are astonishing times but it should be acknowledged that the firm tracks in Sydney of recent weeks have resulted in exceptional times, but irrespective of that, Chautauqua has the runs on the board and his effort on Saturday was outstanding under any circumstances.
Advancing from 1100 metres to 1200 metres of The Everest in three weeks’ time, with the benefit of added fitness plus the weight-for-age conditions at a track that he excels, Chautauqua is the horse to beat and is currently CrownBet’s $6.50 second favourite in what will be a hotly contested race.
One of his main rivals again is sure to be the Peter and Paul Snowden-trained sprinter Redzel (Snitzel) who maintained his impressive form with a very good win in The Shorts.
After racing outside of the leader Ball Of Muscle (Dubawi), Redzel forged to the front at 200 metres and then went on to score decisively by just over a length in record time.
Redzel ran the 1100 metre distance in 1:01.83 (11.24 200m rate), equivalent to 1200 metres in 1:07.45, which bettered the Randwick track record of 1:01.96 set by Famous Seamus (Elusive City) in October 2012 by 0.13 seconds.
Redzel’s 200 metre breakdown was 10.63, 10.68, 10.52, 10.59 and 11.42 to give him a final 1000 metres in 53.84, last 800 metres in 43.21, last 600 metres in 32.53 with his last 400 metres in 22.01.
The race also saw the return of another The Everest contender, the Group One winning mare English (Encosta De Lago), and she lost no admirers with her sound performance in holding on for (1.8 lengths) fourth after being trapped wide in third place at a hectic tempo.
In the main race of the day, Winx (Street Cry) yet again demonstrated all the attributes of a champion in taking out the Colgate Optic White Stakes (registered as George Main Stakes) (Gr 1, 1600m) – her 20th win in succession and her 13th at Group One level.
After being well back in sixth place and under apparent pressure from Hugh Bowman at the 600 metres, Winx went into overdrive halfway down the straight to overhaul the very game Happy Clapper (Teofilo), and score by a length and a quarter in the fast time of 1:33.65.
That was only 0.52 seconds outside of Ike’s Dream’s (Galileo) track record of 1:33.13 in a race that saw the leader Red Excitement (Excites) clock a fast mid-race 1000 metre section (from the 1200m to the 200m) in 56.68.
Winx again produced exceptional sectional times in winning, and the champion mare was clocked to run her final 1400 metres in 1:19.19, last 1200 metres in 1:07.55, last 1000 metres in 55.81, last 800 metres in 44.63, last 600 metres in 33.54 with her final 400 metres in 22.44.
For the record, Winx’s 200 metre breakdown (from the 1400m) was: 11.64, 11.74, 11.18, 11.09, 11.10, 10.99 and 11.45.
Now the winner of $13,475,425 in prize money, Winx is due to race next in the Turnbull Stakes (Gr 1, 2000m) at Flemington on 7 October and again three weeks later in the Cox Plate (Gr 1, 2040m) in a bid to win that famous race for the third successive year.
One of her rivals in the upcoming Turnbull Stakes is expected to be the Darren Weir-trained Humidor (Teofilo), who appears to have returned in career-best form judging by his impressive performance in winning Saturday’s Makybe Diva Stakes (Gr 1, 1600m) at Flemington.
Humidor won in a time of 1:35.35 on the Good 4 track, returning excellent closing sectional times in coming from last in the 12-horse field to score easily from the multiple Group One winners Hartnell (Authorized) and Black Heart Bart (Blackfriars).
Clocked from the 1400 metres, Humidor ran 200 metre sections of 11.20, 11.63, 11.77, 11.51, 11.34, 11.20 and 11.68 to give him a final 1400 metres in a fast 1:20.33, last 1200 metres in 1:09.13, last 1000 metres in 57.50, last 800 metres in 45.73, last 600 metres in 34.22 with his final 400 metres in 22.88.
After having his early racing in New Zealand, Humidor is relatively lightly raced for a five-year-old gelding, Saturday being only his 18th start, and he is now a clear favourite for the Caulfield Cup (Gr 1, 2400m) on 21 October.
A winner of the Australian Cup (Gr 1, 2000m) in March, Humidor has gone from strength to strength since joining the Weir stable, and he is looks one of the few horses in training capable of making a race of it with Winx in the Turnbull Stakes.
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