Chautauqua lands hat-trick with breathtaking success
Randwick: Darley T J Smith Stakes (Group 1) | 6f, 2yo+
Chautauqua (Hawkes team/Tommy Berry), the horse who carries colours bearing a lightning bolt, produced a high-voltage performance to land his third consecutive T J Smith Stakes in breathtaking style during the first leg of The Championships at Randwick on Saturday.
Held up in last by Tommy Berry, the flashy grey still had all 14 rivals ahead of him entering the straight, but with little over a furlong left he began what proved to be an irresistible run as he nailed the Gai Waterhouse-trained English in the shadows of the post to earn a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint .
“Everyone doubted the Hawkes team,” said Berry. “But why would you doubt them? They’re freaks! I never stopped believing in this horse, when you think he’s at his top, he’ll kick again.”
An emotional, and somewhat bloodied after some exuberant celebrations, Michael Hawkes, who trains the winner with brother Wayne and father John, said: “There are a lot of doubters out there, but this horse is the king and he always has been.”
It was revealed earlier in the week that Chautauqua had been confirmed as a runner in the A$10 million The Everest, that is to be staged over the same course and distance at Randwick in October. Saturday’s race was also a “Win and You’re In” event for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, that takes place at Del Mar on November 4.
Also on Saturday
BMW Australian Derby (Group 1) | 1m4f, 3yo
New Zealand triumphed in the Australian Derby once again as Jon Snow (Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman/Damian Lane) defeated Harper’s Choice.
“It’s been a great ride with this horse,” said a stunned Forsman. “Murray’s record in this race is second to none, he knows how to get them fit and ready, and I’m just glad we pulled it off.”
Saturday’s success took Baker’s record in the contest to four wins, having previously struck with Mongolian Khan, It’s A Dundeel and Nom De Jeu.
The Star Doncaster Mile (Group 1) | 1m, 3yo
The Godolphin-owned and former Mark Johnston inmate It’s Somewhat (John O’Shea/Zac Purton) made all to land the Doncaster Mile, the richest mile handicap in the world.
“It’s special to win this race in the blue,” said O’Shea. “We’d been quietly confident he’d run in the first four all week, and when the track played that way we thought we’d give him a dig in the ribs as we knew he’d be tough, and he was.”
Despite what had looked a solid book of rides, Godolphin’s retained rider James Doyle drew a blank on the ten-race card, while the first top-level contest on the card, the Inglis Sires’, went the way of the Peter and Paul Snowden-trained and Hugh Bowman-ridden Invader.