Recently retired champion sire Encosta de Lago featured with a new Group I winner at Randwick on Easter Monday when high class sprinter Chautauqua (4g Encosta de Lago x Lovely Jubly, by Lion Hunter) stormed home to victory in the Group I ATC TJ Smith Stakes over 1200 metres.
Ridden quietly back in the field as is his pattern of racing, Chautauqua produced his trademark barnstorming finish for Tommy Berry to reel in the roughie Lord of the Sky and win his first Group I event by a nose.
His win at the highest level was overdue with Group I seconds in the VRC Newmarket Handicap and VRC Darley Sprint preceding his milestone win.
Trained by Team Hawkes, Chautauqua advances his record to six wins and five seconds from 13 starts with earnings of $2.3 million.
Co trainer Wayne Hawkes was in awe of his gallant grey.
“Honestly he was never in a winning position,” Hawkes said.
“To come from last today and do what he did, that was pretty freaky.
“Everyone knows his form and his last couple of starts have been a bit unlucky but it’s just great to finally get the Group 1 out of the road.
“He’s had everything go right the last 12 months, it’s been almost ridiculous from a trainer’s point of view how this horse has been so push button.”
Wayne’s brother Michael said the best is yet to come for the son of Encosta de Lago.
“Superstar horses do super things and you just can’t deny what he has done. He is just a superstar because horses just don’t do what he does but he has gone up another cog and he could be anything,” he said.
Bred by the Throsby family, who raced his dam Lovely Jubly, Chautauqua was consigned to the Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale where he passed in shy of his $400,000 reserve and now runs for a group of Hawkes stable clients including his breeders.
A half-brother to stakes-winner London Lolly, he is one of six winners from seven to race for Lovely Jubly, who won over $1.4 million in prizemoney highlighted by Group I wins in the QTC TJ Smith Stakes and Sires Produce Stakes as well as the Magic Millions 2YO Classic.
Chautauqua is the 23rd Group I winner for Encosta de Lago, who is enjoying his usual good season on the track with progeny earnings topping $6.5 million and has five entries for the Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale.