Chautauqua trainers pondering Japan trip before Hong Kong Sprint

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Chautauqua
STAR sprinter Chautauqua could race in Japan before travelling to Hong Kong for the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint in October.

Japanese racing authorities will charter a flight to get Chautauqua to race at Nakayama in October, providing the connections of the world’s best sprinter agree.

Team Hawkes will be making a decision later this week about whether to accept the invitation to race in Japan.

If the six-year-old was to win, it would receive a US $1 million bonus as a part of the Global Series.

The original plan was to have a lead-up run at group 2 level at Sha Tin before taking on some of the world’s best sprinters in the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint three weeks later.

It would also have one run in Australia, most likely the McEwen Stakes at Moonee Valley, before embarking on an international campaign.

Part owner Rupert Legh said co-trainer John Hawkes insisted that the Japan Racing Association provide a direct flight to Japan and then Hong Kong and back to Australia.

He also revealed that, after lengthy negotiations, the Japanese had agreed to the flight costs and it is now up to Team Hawkes to make the decision.

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“John wants to fly direct from Sydney to Japan with Chautauqua and a companion horse and if I can get that deal done, then he is happy to consider it,” Legh said.

“At this stage they have agreed to pay the costs to go direct with a companion and then are happy to fly him to Hong Kong and then back to Melbourne or Sydney.

“We are thinking about the race in Hong Kong, so he could have one in Australia, then go to Japan. And there is a lead-in race about three weeks before the main race in Hong Kong (Hong Kong Sprint), a group 2 weight-for-age and it works well. So we are talking big money.

“John just has to make his mind up whether he wants to go the Darley (Classic), where there is a $600,000 bonus for us this year because we won the international race, or does he go to Japan and Hong Kong.”

The Japanese race in question is the Group 1 Sprinters Stakes on October 2. The Hong Kong Sprint takes place at Sha Tin on December 11 and betting for that will open in the coming months.

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