Trans-Tasman Group Three Double for Encosta

Champion sire Encosta de Lago was in top form on Saturday with his brilliant grey son Chautauqua (4g Encosta de Lago x Lovely Jubly, by Lion Hunter) capturing the Group III VRC Bobbie Lewis Quality and New Zealand Derby winner Puccini resuming from a spell to win the Group III Marton Mile (pictured) at Awapuni in New Zealand.

Prepared by Team Hawkes, Chautauqua won the Group III Hawkesbury Guineas last season and was resuming from a break in the 1200 metre sprint.

Ridden quietly back in the field by Dwayne Dunn, Chautauqua showed an explosive turn of foot I the final furlong to dash right away and win by two and a half lengths, clocking fractionally faster time than Rich Enuff did in winning the Group II VRC Danehill Stakes.

“His acceleration was really good. We knew the talent was there but he just does those silly things wrong,” Dunn said.

“He’s shown us at home that he’s above average.”

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 and Rupert Legh, whose colours were carried to victory earlier in the day by promising three year-old Merion.

With three wins and three seconds from eight starts and $265,000 in prizemoney, it seems as though the best is still to come for Chautauqua.

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.

New Zealand Derby winner Puccini (4h Encosta de Lago x Our Miss Opera, by Paris Opera) looks set for a big spring after impressing connections with his dominant win in the Group III Marton Mile.

“It was fantastic to see him come back like that and we can carry on with our plans,” said co-trainer Jacob McKay, who prepares the entire with his father Peter.

Puccini sat in second spot before striding to the front on straightening and he held on strongly for a comprehensive win.

“Ideally, we wanted to sit four or five back, but there wasn’t a lot of pace on,” McKay said.

“His racing manners are much better than last season and there’s still plenty of improvement in him.”

All going well Puccini is being aimed towards the Group I MVRC Cox Plate on October 25.

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