Chautauqua storms home in Chairman’s Sprint Prize

There are now no arguments; Chautauqua is definitely the best sprinter on the planet.

Official ratings had him positioned at the top of the tree and the powerful grey justified the numbers with a brilliant display to win the Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) at Sha Tin on Sunday.

Taking on Hong Kong’s best on their home turf, Chautauqua showed the world what an amazing horse he is.

The Team Hawkes trained galloper settled back last in his customary role at the tail of the field.

He had it all to do at the top of the straight but once again mowed down his rivals, surging to the front in the final strides to defeat Lucky Bubbles with Strathmore finishing third.

His victory was the first at Group 1 level for an Australian-trained horse in Hong Kong.

Falvelon won back-to-back International sprints in Hong Kong in 2000-2001 but they weren’t recognised as Group 1 events at the time.

For trainer John Hawkes, a man who has now won 110 Group 1 races and prepared champions such as Lonhro and Octagonal, this is his greatest achievement.

“It doesn’t get any better than this, to come here on the international stage with the boys and all the family, this is as good as it gets,” Hawkes said.

“He is a special horse, we’ve seen him do that at home on a number of occasions but that is something else.”

Tommy Berry has won two Golden Slippers and numerous feature races in Hong Kong, but standing on the podium and receiving the trophy for the Chairman’s Sprint Prize while the Australian national anthem was playing is now his biggest moment.

“This is an amazing feeling to represent the country and be a part of such a special horse,” Berry said.

“I’ve had some big moment in my riding career but I’d have to say this is the best.”