Chautauqua is closer to a return to the racetrack after jumping cleanly from the barriers in a jump-out at Flemington.
The grey flash was shaking his head and appeared playful in the barriers, something that has not been evident in his previous failed attempts. He did not blast out of the gates, but at least jumped well enough to satisfy Racing Victoria stewards.
The Hawkes Racing-trained sprinter needs to pass an official barrier trial before the six-time Group 1 winner will be allowed to race again.
Connections of the sprinter including co-trainers John and Wayne Hawkes, managing part-owner Rupert Legh and jockey Tommy Berry were relieved after Chautauqua jumped away in a four-horse jump-out on Friday morning.
Wayne Hawkes said he wasn’t interested in when Chautauqua would make a reappearance at the races and was intent on getting the gelding qualified again for a return to the track.
— Blake Dobbin (@DobbinBlakey) September 20, 2018
After the horse successfully completed the start, Berry did not push him too hard in the 800m-heat on Friday.
Berry said Chautauqua stood in the gates for an extended period on Friday after one horse proved difficult to load and then its rider needed to adjust his irons before the start.
He said Chautauqua began as well as he had on previous race day occasions.
“He’s come out slower than that on race day, that’s for sure,” Berry said. “He jumped like he normally would and had an easy time out the back. We weren’t out there to break any records.”
— Martin Sanna #KeepToTheStructures 🏉🚘 (@Martin_Sanna) September 20, 2018
Racing NSW stewards placed a ban on the gelding after he failed to jump in six trials and was slowly away in a special race day trial at Rosehill on August 25.