Chautauqua’s Connections Reluctant to Quit While Ahead
They apparently are not ready to call time on Chautauqua.
After several instances of the big grey’s refusal to leave the barrier, such that he was prevented from defending and attempting his third successive win in the T J Smith Stakes and banned by stewards, he will be tested again in a jumpout at Flemington Friday.
Animal sentimentalists that we are, we like to believe that such a thing as horse sense truly exists and that Chautauqua no longer wanted to race out a sense of self preservation, but we stop short of saying he was expressing a form of equine altruism that was concerned with the safety of others.
On one side of the balance sheet, it would seem as though winning six times at Group 1 level and bringing in almost $9 million in prizemoney would be a source of contentment for the horse’s ownership syndicate and the Hawkes boys, but apparently, that is not the case.
On the other side, Chautauqua is a gelding and does not offer a future of fat stud fees. He is seven and could well run a couple more campaigns.
That is the business side of racing.
In order to have the stewards’ embargo currently in place lifted, Chautauqua will need to jump out in an official barrier trial.
He last raced last November in the Group 1 Darley Classic at Flemington, where he finished fourth. Next came a barrier trial where he left the start, but then came four successive Left at Post trials and the resulting embargo.
Throughout his career of 32 starts, he has placed 24 times. That figure, combined with the big one preceded by the dollar symbol, would seem to be the reason that so much is being done to get him back on the track.
We sincerely hope that Michael, Wayne and John Hawkes make the right choice by Chautauqua, but we cannot help but feel that two missed jumps, barrier trial or otherwise, is all the signal they should need to quit while the quitting is good.