Curtains for Chautauqua as champ stays in gates
CHAUTAUQUA's glittering career is over after the quirky star failed a pivotal barrier trial at The Valley.
Needing to jump with the field to secure clearance from Racing Victoria stewards to resume his stalled career, the moody grey stood motionless when the barriers opened on Friday night.
His failure to leave the machines means the "Grey Flash" has run his last race after earning more than $8 million and winning six Group 1s.
Senior part-owner Rupert Legh confirmed Chautauqua had run his last race.
Jockey Tommy Berry was shattered as he returned to the mounting yard as six rivals completed the trial.
"Gutted mate, to be honest to be trotting around the gates, he didn't give me much of a feel, he wasn't really interested," Berry said.
Co-trainer Wayne Hawkes was rueful but unsurprised after the world's former No. 1 sprinter refused to jump.
"The bottom line is he is what he is, what do you do?," Wayne Hawkes said.
"And guess what, he doesn't want to do it anymore.
"He's too good for us.
"It didn't surprise me. It's disappointing he didn't jump but he's been one of the greatest of the great."
Chautauqua was back at the Valley for the first time since his controversial pre-race scratching last spring.
Many believe the former world No.1 sprinter's aversion to stepping with the field from the gates stemmed from his scratching last year.
Team Hawkes hoped Chautauqua had cured his barrier blues after last week starting cleanly in a low-key Flemington trial.
But watched by a large crowd at the traditional AFL grand final eve meeting, Chautauqau was up to his old tricks.
Since last starting in the Darley Classic almost a year ago, the mercurial speedster has failed in seven different trials or jumpouts.
Chautauqua needed to jump away cleanly in successive trials to secure a clearance to race again.
Until his latest mishap, he was under consideration for the 12th and final slot in the $13 million The Everest (1200m) at Randwick on October 13.
At best, he will be spelled before Team Hawkes again tries to cure his manners, but there is probably no way back from this.
Chautauqua had been schooled in private by a mysterious horse whisperer identified only as "Mr Q."
Progress was encouraging - until Friday night.