Group Double for Encosta
Champion sire Encosta de Lago might have been recently pensioned , but his influence was still to the fore at Caulfield on Saturday where he posted a Group race double with sizzling sprinter Chautauqua (4g Encosta de Lago x Lovely Jubly, by Lion Hunter) taking the Group II MRC Rubiton Stakes (pictured) and veteran gelding Smokin’ Joey (7g Encosta de Lago x Dalzing, by Blazing Sword) winning the Group III Carlyon Cup. Prepared by Wez Hunter, seven year-old gelding Smokin’ Joey won the Group I SAJC Goodwood Handicap last season and showed his versatility when taking out this one mile feature by a nose. Retained to race by his breeders, Smokin’ Joey has won seven races and placed seven times from 47 starts earning in excess of $1.2 million in prizemoney. Smokin’ Joey is a full brother to multiple Group II winner Our Smokin Joe, who won 10 races and more than $1.6 million in prizemoney with multiple placings at Group I level. He is one of five winners from the Blazing Sword mare Dalzing, who was retired from stud duty in 2009, Smokin’ Joey being her final foal. Progressive sprinter Chautauqua was sizzling in the spring in three runs up the straight, winning two Group races before finishing a close second to Terravista in the Group I VRC Darley Sprint. Racing around a bend for the first time since May last year, the Hawkes Racing trained gelding needed time to find his feet before being asked to go by Dwayne Dunn, but when the button was pushed he exploded. Dunn said he was always confident of getting there. "He was a bit slow to muster speed so I let him find his feet. He wasn’t brilliant round the turn but once he balanced up he was good, he really only had to work the final 400 metres,” he said. Hawkes said the Group I VRC Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 14 is the likely next start for Chautauqua, who has won five of his 11 starts and earned $687,500. 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.