The inside barrier is not what Dwayne Dunn wanted for Chautauqua in the Manikato Stakes but the jockey is hoping the star sprinter’s class will prevail in the $1 million race.
Dunn was sidelined through suspension when Tommy Berry steered Chautauqua to victory in the Group One sprint a year ago.
But he will be back in the hot seat on Friday night at Moonee Valley when the champion sprinter bids to bounce back from a first-up fourth in the Moir Stakes.
He steps to 1200m which Dunn insists is more suitable and the Hawkes Racing-trained sprinter is the $2.10 favourite.
Dunn admits he would have liked to have drawn out wider in the field of 11 which includes 10 individual Group One winners.
“It’s not going to make my job easy,” Dunn said.
“I’m just going to have to play the cards that are dealt to me now. He doesn’t have to go back to last but if the tempo is fast enough it probably suits me to round them up.
“Hopefully there’s not too much rain around either and the inside isn’t totally cast.
“We know he’s a superstar and hopefully he turns up on Friday night.”
Dunn said he and the connections walked away a little disappointed after the Moir Stakes.
“We expected him to go there and probably win,” he said.
“But when we went through his sectionals he ran exactly the same splits as what he did the year before to win the McEwen Stakes.
“I think he’s still going as well as what he can do.
“He’s got a big campaign mapped out if things go to plan. We’ll know on Friday night where he’s at.”
The Moir was won by Extreme Choice and another three-year-old looms as one of the main Manikato chances with Golden Slipper winner Capitalist on the second line of betting at $6.
Capitalist is trained by Peter and Paul Snowden and will be ridden by Kerrin McEvoy.
McEvoy won on the Manikato on Peter Snowden-trained Sepoy in 2011, the last time a three-year-old was successful.
Buffering finished fourth that year and the now nine-year-old will be lining up in his sixth-straight Manikato.
The 2013 winner has barrier two and is at $12.