Chautauqua’s Sectional Times Suggest He Has Regained A Lot Of His Old Dash
The rising seven-year-old has not tasted success since his brilliant last-to-first victory in the 2016 Chairman’s Sprint (Gr 1, 1200m) at Sha Tin and after an aborted two-start preparation later that year, he has now raced twice this year with encouraging signs, especially on the watch.
After settling in last place in the eight-horse field on Saturday, Tommy Berry took Chautauqua along the rails rounding the home turn and after then switching deep, he got to the front at the 200 metres and then battled strongly for second, beaten a short head by the in-form Le Romain (Hard Spun).
Racing on a Heavy 10 track, Chautauqua was clocked from the 1200 metre point to the 200 metre mark, sections of 11.80, 11.68 (400m in 23.48), 11.35 (600m in 34.83), 11.65 (800m in 46.48) and 11.69 to give him a fast 1000 metre time (in the conditions) of 58.37.
Then after hitting the front much earlier than he has done in the past, Chautauqua impressed by fighting all the way to the post, perhaps suggesting that he is now looking for longer distances but his sectional times still indicate that he can be a most effective sprinter.
So it will be interesting to see if connections attempt to take out a third successive T J Smith Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m) at Randwick on 1 April or if they will elect to tackle a longer distance feature over the Sydney Autumn Carnival in preference.
The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained mare English (Encosta De Lago), who ran on strongly for third behind Chautauqua in last year’s T J Smith Stakes, is one horse that has already been set for the race again after her impressive first up win in Saturday’s Challenge Stakes (Gr 2, 1000m).
Ridden by Blake Shinn, English settled back in second last place in the nine-horse and after taking the lead at the 200 metres, she then dug deep when challenged to score a narrow but very game win and in quick time (considering the conditions).
English ran 59.99 on the Heavy 10 track and her closing sectional times were quite impressive. From the 800 metre point she ran sections of 10.82, 11.36 (400m in 22.18), 11.49 (600m in 33.67) with 12.65 for her final 200 metres to give him a last 800 metres in a smart 46.32.
In the main race of the day, Team Hawkes produced their ATC Australian Derby (Gr 1, 2400m) prospect Inference (So You Think) who impressed with his late closing victory in the Randwick Guineas (Gr 1, 1600m).
Having his second run since his good third in the Victoria Derby (Gr 1, 2500m) at Flemington on 29 October, Inference came from last in the 11-horse field and stormed home along the outside rail to grab a narrow but strong win over the front-running filly Invincible Gem (I Am Invincible).
Inference was timed to run his last 1000 metres in 61.87, last 800 metres in 49.02, last 600 metres in 36.21 and final 400 metres in 24.00, good times on the Heavy 10 track.
The fourth-placed Impavido (High Chaparral) also ran well and the Bjorn Baker-trained gelding is now also likely to head to the Australian Derby at Randwick on 1 April.
Having only his fourth start, Impavido lacks the experience of Inference but he certainly looks to have the makings of a really promising young stayer.
After settling in second last place, Impavido improved nearing the home turn and then went towards the outer rail but was held up for clear running at the 200 metre mark. He then recovered nicely for fourth.
Impavido was timed to run his last 1000 metres in 61.94, last 800 metres in 49.13, last 600 metres in 36.90 with his final 400 metres in 24.64.
In the corresponding three-year-old feature at Flemington, vastly different track conditions prevailed for the running of the Australian Guineas (Gr 1, 1600m) which saw a very quickly run race be taken out by the Tony McEvoy-trained gelding Hey Doc (Duporth).
After being handily placed most of the way from his inside barrier (1), Hey Doc got a split and took the lead at the 300 metres and then fought strongly to score by three quarters of a length from the Victoria Derby (Gr 1, 2500m) winner Prized Icon (More Than Ready).
On a day of exceptionally fast times, Hey Doc clocked 1:34.01 for the 1600 metre journey and his sectional times were also fast with his last 1200 metres in 1:08.88, last 1000 metres in 57.05, last 800 metres in 45.25, last 600 metres in 33.82 with his final 400 metres in 22.62.
The next four past the post all clocked fast closing sectional times.
The runner up Prized Icon running his last 1000 metres in 56.88 and last 600 metres in 33.71, third-placed Snitzson (Snitzel) ran his last 1000 metres in 56.53 and last 600 metres in 33.45 and Harlow Glow (Tavistock) who ran fourth, ran her last 1000 metres in 56.45 and last 600 metres in 33.42.
While the Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young-trained colt Anaheim (Fastnet Rock), who came from 14th to finish fifth, clocked 1:07.79 (last 1200m), 56.22 (last 1000m), 44.73 (last 800m) and 33.36 (last 600m) – the fastest times for those sections in the race.
Anaheim, a lightly raced colt, is a winner over 1800 metres last preparation and he now looks on track for the feature Group staying races over the Sydney autumn carnival.
But on a day of fast times, it was hard to match the times recorded by the flying mare Heatherly (Lonhro) who led most of the way in taking out the Bob Hoysted Handicap (Listed, 1000m).
Racing over Flemington’s straight course, Heatherly clocked 56.94 for the 1000 metre distance with a 200 metre breakdown, from the 800 metre mark, of 10.71, 10.42 (400m in 21.13), 10.45 (600m in 31.58) with 11.01 for her last 200 metres to give her a very fast 42.59 for her final 800 metres.