Chautauqua Re-Joins The Sprint Battle

The keen battle that waged for most of last season for the title of Australia’s top sprinter continued at the weekend with four prime contenders staking claims in four separate races. The Queenslander Buffering re-stated his credentials on Friday night with his win in the G1 Moir Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley, Terravista maintained his outstanding first-up record in the G2 Premiere Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on Saturday and Chautauqua (pictured) overcame difficulties to win the G2 Gilgai Stakes at Flemington on Sunday. And among them was a new name – Exosphere – who might well be the best of the lot. For Buffering, the Moir Stakes win was a triumph for persistence as well as for his undeniable ability. A veteran of numerous “wars” with Black Caviar, the Queenslander showed he could still mix it after suffering an injury last year, scoring a narrow win at the Valley. Terravista endured a chequered run in the Premiere before taking his first-up record to five-from-six and Chautauqua also looked to be in trouble before his brilliant Flemington win. But no win last weekend surpassed that of Exosphere, a the three-year-old son of Lonhro, who scored his fifth win from seven starts. The decision by trainer John O’Shea to undertake a sprinting campaign this spring rather than go for the Caulfield Guineas, looked doubtful when Exosphere was 10 lengths off the lead turning in. But an explosive burst of speed from the 300m carried him to a hard-held three-length win to put him right among the older short-course stars. Exosphere may well get to test himself against open company in the G1 Darley Classic at Flemington on the final day of the Melbourne Cup meeting. Sunday’s Flemington meeting also marked another dominant day for locally-bred runners in stakes races. Of the nine graded races staged, Australian-breds won eight, following on from the 11-from-11 in locally-staged stakes events a week earlier.
The Power of Passion