By Brad Gray
Brenton Avdulla rode Chautauqua in his trial at Warwick Farm this morning, and although that sees him in pole position to ride the ‘Grey Flash’ over the spring, don’t take it as a given.
“I’ve been doing a bit of riding for Team Hawkes and have always had a bit of success for them. They have got a program set for him so I’m happy to work in however they want,” Avdulla said.
Co-trainer Micheal Hawkes then added, “We wanted to put Brenton on today for the trial but we need to talk about things going forward. Brenton has had a sit on the horse but don’t read too much into it at this stage.”
Chautauqua cut an imposing figure at Warwick Farm looking as strong as he ever as and that was evident in his eye-catching trial with the three-time TJ Smith Stakes winner cruising to the line in third behind Gary Portelli’s pair Single Bullet and She Will Reign.
“He is a multiple Group One-winner so was obviously going to give me a good feel but all the Hawkes team wanted me to do was give him a nice little burn around to start his preparation off and I thought he trialled nicely,” Avdulla reported.
“His attitude was good and left the gates okay. They went along at a pretty break neck speed out in front but I was really happy with his last 100m. He really towed me through (the line) and it took me a while to pull him up. The horse is in good order.”
Chautauqua will trial again before kicking off his spring in the $200,000 Group Two The Shorts (1100m), a race which is shaping up to be an intriguing precursor to The Everest with confirmed contenders English and Fell Swoop set to also the tackle the race first up while hopeful Redzel is another likely starter.
“His second trial will determine where we start and what we do. It’s a long way to The Everest but we just want to make sure we cross our T’s and dot our I’s. He tells us anyways. He is the sort of horse that we don’t have to do too much with,” said Hawkes.
“(The Everest) is an exciting concept and we’re lucky enough to have a horse that is favourite. We’ve got a horse that has been there and done it before. We’re treating it as any other race though despite it being exciting and a lot of money on offer.”