Team Hawkes timing champ’s run to perfection


And this Saturday’s $10 million The TAB Everest (1200m) at Royal Randwick is the mother of all grand finals. But jockey Brenton Avdulla maintains he’s isn’t feeling the heat just days out from the world’s richest turf race.




“I’m not exactly feeling pressure, but I’m am full of confidence because there’s none better than getting a horse ready for grand final day than Team Hawkes,” Avdulla said.

“I think they’ve showed it during the past few seasons with him and they’ve set him for one race this Saturday and I’ve been happy with all his progress.

Brenton Avdulla couldn’t be happier with Chautauqua heading into The Everest.

Brenton Avdulla couldn’t be happier with Chautauqua heading into The Everest.Source:News Corp Australia

“If we get a track that’s even, I’m happy. The two races he’s been in this preparation have been on very firm tracks and it’s been very hard to make ground, but if we have last Saturday’s Randwick track he’s a very live shot.”

At Tuesday’s barrier draw the Encosta de Lago grey drew gate five, and expect him to be last for much of the race, perhaps even two or three lengths off the second last horse approaching the turn.

Avdulla will be niggling at him from the 500m and he’ll be making no ground on his rivals for maybe the next 100m. Then whoosh.

“He’s not a horse that has one of those bursting turn of foots, he’s more of a builder and you’ve got to get him through his gears like driving a car,” Avdulla said. “You go from gear one to gear six and when he hits that gear he goes into overdrive.”

Apart from five starts very early in his career, Chautauqua has only been ridden by either Tommy Berry of Dwayne Dunn.

Michael Hawkes said the picking the red hot Avdulla wasn’t as straight forward as it seemed.

“We talked about who suits the horse best and we didn’t rush into it. It wasn’t an easy decision,” Hawkes said. “When only two jockeys have ridden him in the past four years you definitely have to think outside the square.

“We took a lot into account into why we choose Brenton and he’s excited about it.”

When The Everest concept was announced Avdulla didn’t think he’d feature in the sprint let alone land the plumb ride. “Anyone could have ridden him so I’m lucky,” he said. “He scan sustain a sprint for longer than most and that’s his biggest asset.”

Following the barrier draw Chautauqua’s price remained $6 with She Will Reign remaining he $4.60 favourite.

The Everest field

Horse (Barrier) Jockey Weight
1. Chautauqua (5) B. Avdulla 58.5kg
2. Vega Magic (10) C. Williams 58.5kg
3. Redzel (4) K. McEvoy 58.5kg
4. Redkirk Warrior (3) R. Bayliss 58.5kg
5. Clearly Innocent (6) H. Bowman 58.5kg
6. Deploy (7) J. Parr 58.5kg
7. Fell Swoop (8) T. Angland 58.5kg
8. Brave Smash (9) J. Spencer 58.5kg
9. English (12) B. Shinn 56.5kg
10. She Will Reign (2) C. Brown 51kg
11. Houtzen (1) J. Lloyd 51kg
12. Tulip (11) T. Clark 51kg


Brad Davidson

GLAMOUR sprinter Chautauqua’s chances in Saturday’s The Everest could rest on the hoofs of a $26 outsider.

Three-year-old filly Houtzen drew the inside gate at Tuesday’s barrier draw and will have a big say in just how fast they go in the inaugural $10 million race at Royal Randwick.

The three on-speed runners — Houtzen (one), Redzel (4) and Deploy (7) all fared well at the barrier draw, meaning they don’t have to go too fast early if they don’t want to. If they had drawn off the track it would have naturally injected more speed in the race which would suit Chautauqua, who is almost certain to be last and spotting the leaders a big start on the turn.

Redzel romps in The Shorts0:41

Horse Racing: Redzel’s path to The Everest is on track after a powerful win in The Shorts at Randwick.

  • September 16th 2017
  • 24 days ago
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Some would argue the closer Chautauqua is on the turn the better off he is but his best wins have come when he is spotting his rivals a very big start because they have gone too fast in front.

It’s simple for ”The Grey Flash” — the quicker they go, the better his chances become. He has an unrivalled 800m sustained sprint and this is at its most powerful when they go hard early.

Houtzen and Redzel may lob in front and stack them up or Houtzen could put on the afterburners and try to pinch the race from the front with her light weight.

Chautauqua’s connections will be hoping it’s the latter of those options. The biggest winner out of the draw was Clearly Innocent. I’m convinced he is a better horse when racing outside other horses and barrier six means he should be one off the fence and ready to strike.



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