Three years after finishing one-two in the Darley Classic, Terravista and Chautauqua are back for their latest crack at the million dollar sprint at Flemington.
Chautauqua has won six Group One races, including three-straight TJ Smith Stakes at Randwick, and amassed more than $8.7 million prize money but a Group One win over the straight 1200m course at Flemington has eluded him.
Co-trainer Wayne Hawkes would love to see the star gelding correct that anomaly on Saturday.
“He’s never won a 1200-metre Group One up the straight,” Hawkes said.
“It certainly is the one that keeps getting away from him.”
Chautauqua won two Group Two races over the 1200m-straight course during the spring of 2014 and won the 2016 Lightning Stakes at Flemington narrowly over Terravista over 1000m.
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He was second in both the 2014 and 2015 Darley Classics and second in the 2015 Newmarket Handicap and third the following year in his attempts in 1200m-Flemington Group One races.
The Joe Pride-trained Terravista will wear blinkers for the first time when he lines up in his third Darley Classic after his 2014 win and his third the following year.
Hawkes said missing the Manikato Stakes, when Chautauqua was controversially scratched at the barriers after getting a leg up in the stalls, had not impacted his build-up for Saturday and he saId the gelding was fine half an hour after the race.
“He’s come through really well,” Hawkes said.
“His work has been great. He’s not on fire but he’s the next best thing, I reckon.
“He doesn’t work any better than he did on Wednesday morning. So he is in career-best form but it’s an amazing game, he hasn’t won a race this preparation which is quite amazing.”