Chautauqua Jumps At Flemington

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Chautauqua (grey) at last breaks from the barriers | Darren Tindale

World champion sprinter Chautauqua (Aus) (Encosta de Lago {Aus}), who in the autumn refused to jump from the barriers in four trials in the space of nine days, made the first step towards a potential return to the races by successfully completing-and winning-a jumpout at Flemington on Friday under jockey Tommy Berry. A jumpout is an unofficial trial, and the next step for the soon-to-be 8-year-old gelding will be an official trial at Rosehill on July 23. The Team Hawkes-trained Chautauqua must perform to the stewards’ satisfaction there in order to be cleared to race again following his earlier antics.

Jockey Tommy Berry, who has ridden Chautauqua to five Group 1 wins, including three renewals of the G1 TJ Smith S., flew in from Hong Kong for the occasions. Berry will return permanently to Sydney after the current Hong Kong racing season ends.

“He was his usual quirky self,” Berry told Racing.com. “He was bouncing around in there, which is usually what he’s like, and he jumped probably the quickest he’s ever jumped before. I had to grab him and pull him back a bit at the start to get him to settle, so I was very pleased with his efforts. They wanted to put a lead on him behind the barriers, which when I’ve ridden him he’s never had before, so I just asked the guys if they could please let me ride him in by myself and they did that. The barrier boys did an amazing job once again.”

“The Hawkes team have done an amazing job with him, given him a nice long spell and some time at the beach and doing different things; a bit like a therapy session for him.”

“It’s good to get the first tick in the box done, but there’s about 10 ticks to go so we’re not getting ahead of ourselves,” said co-trainer Wayne Hawkes. “It’s a good start but he has a lot more water under the bridge.”

“We’re not getting ahead of ourselves because he can change pretty quick. He’s Chautauqua, he’s not a normal horse. We can all laugh and smile now but the truth is he’s not a normal horse. He’s switched on, he’s switched off before and he could do it again. But he’s been in very good form this time and we’ve been very happy with him.”

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