Chautauqua (horse)

Chautauqua (foaled 20 September 2010) is a former and now retired champion Australian racehorse. He was bred as a thoroughbred, which is the superior breed for a racehorse[1]. Chautauqua's grey colouring saw him receive the nickname “The Grey Flash”. Chautauqua raced 32 times, winning 6 group one races and earning AU$8,821,935 in prize money. This includes three successive Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes wins and a Group 1 Chairman's Sprint Prize (Hong Kong) win[2].

SireEncosta de Lago
GrandsireFairy King
DamLovely Jubly
DamsireLion Hunter
Foaled20 September 2010
BreederFairway Thoroughbreds
OwnerR & C Legh Racing (Mgrs: R & Mrs C Legh), G P I Racing (Mgr: G Ingham), Gurners Bloodstock (Mgr: M A Ramsden), G Pulitano, S W Kay, Ms M A Keating, Wright Racing (Mgrs: P & R Wright) & Throsby Racing Syndicate (Mgr: Ms E R S Throsby)
Racing coloursYellow and Purple
TrainerMichael, Wayne & John Hawkes
Major wins
Hawkesbury Guineas (2014)
Bobbie Lewis Quality (2014)
Gilgai Stakes (2014, 2015)
Rubiton Stakes (2015)
TJ Smith Stakes (2015, 2016, 2017)
McEwen Stakes (2015)
Manikato Stakes (2015)
Lightning Stakes (2016)
Chairman's Sprint Prize (2016)
Australian Champion Sprinter (2016)
Last updated on 30 October 2018

Chautauqua was co-trained by trainers Michael, Wayne and John Hawkes under their business, Hawkes Racing. The responsibility of the horse relies largely on the trainer[3]. He was ridden by a number of jockeys including James Mcdonald, Dwayne Dunn, Brenton Avdulla but in most Group 1 wins by Tommy Berry.  Chautauqua was foaled in 2010 by the famous stallion Encosta De Lago and Dam Lovely Jubely[2]. He was originally put on auction as a foal at the 2012 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale held at the Berkley Park Stud in Scone and was passed in at AU$300,000 after not reaching the reserve of AU$400,000[4][5].

Chautauqua's racing colours are purple and yellow. The silk is purple with yellow stripes on the arm and a yellow lightning bolt on the front. It is also worn with a yellow helmet cover[6].

Famous for his come from behind victories Chautauqua's career ended in controversy when he refused to leave the racing start gates on a multitude of occasions. Such behaviour is very rare in racing and therefore incited debate on animal welfare. This saw him subsequently retire in September 2018. [6]

Rosehill Racecourse - Chautauqua's home track.

Racing CareerEdit

2013-2014 SeasonEdit

Chautauqua's race career began at the Seymour Race Club in a Maiden Plate race where he placed 2nd. He then moved to race at Kyneton the following week in another Maiden Plate race where he again placed 2nd. He was then spelled for 18 weeks before achieving his first win at Geelong in a 3-year-old Maiden Plate race. He next raced at Gosford where he achieved a place of 2nd and then the following week placed 7th in his first Group 2 Race. Chautauqua's first Group 3 win came the following week at Hawkesbury in the Hawkesbury Guineas. His final race of the season was run at Scone where he placed 7th and was subsequently spelled for 17 weeks.[2]

2014-2015 SeasonEdit

Chautauqua's 4-year-old season started successfully with two wins. Firstly, he won at Flemington in a Group 3 race and then the following week won his first Group 2 race again at Flemington. After a spell of 5 weeks, he again raced at Flemington and placed 2nd in his first Group 1 race. Chautauqua was then spelled for 14 weeks before winning another Group 2 race at Caulfield. He then travelled down to Flemington where he placed 2nd in a Group 1 race. His next race was his first Group 1 win at the TJ Smith Stakes raced at Randwick earning $1,400,000[2]. Chautauqua's first TJ Smith Stakes win was won from last position. he overtook his fellow 9 opponents in the last 400m to narrowly beat Lord of the Sky at the finish[7]. He then finished the season in the All Aged Stakes Group 1 race at Randwick, finishing 3rd. Afterward, he was spelled for 20 weeks.[2]

2015-2016 SeasonEdit

Chautauqua started the 2015 season with three wins. Firstly, in two Group 2 races at Flemington and Moonee Valley. His third consecutive win of the season came in the William Hill Manikato Stakes, a Group 1 race. This followed with four Group 1 placings at Flemington including a win in the Black Caviar Lightening Stakes. This led to Chautauqua's second consecutive TJ Smith Stakes win at Randwick. Chautauqua started his second TJ Smith Stakes as the favourite at $3.60[8]. Again Chautauqua came from last place, overtaking 14 other opponents to claim the Group 1 race[9]. He then flew to Hong Kong to race at the Sha Tin Racecourse in the Group 1 Chairman's Sprint which he won[2]. Chautauqua allegedly refused to be saddled before his race in Hong Kong. He kicked off a shoe before being restrained and then proceeded to win with one of his trademark come from behind victories.[10] After his cameo in Hong Kong Chautauqua finished his season and was spelled for 21 weeks.[2]

2016-2017 SeasonEdit

Chautauqua's fourth season began placing 4th and 7th in Group 1 races at Moonee Valley. After a 16-week spell, Chautauqua placed 3rd in a Group 2 race at Caulfield. He then placed 2nd in the Canterbury Stakes at Randwick and 3rd in George Ryder Stakes at Rosehill. He finished the season with his third consecutive TJ Smith Stakes win edging English in the final strait.[2] Chautauqua did not enter this race as the favourite at $6.50 and trailed the entire field until the last 250m, overtaking leaders English and Fell Swoop to create racing history. Chautauqua is the first horse to win the TJ Smith Stakes three times and also consecutively[11]. He was then spelled for 21 weeks[2].

2017-2018 SeasonEdit

Chautauqua's final season saw him compete in only four valid races. This included a 6th and 7th place in two Group 2 races at Randwick and then 4th place in the 2017 Everest Cup at Randwick. Chautauqua entered the inaugural Everest Cup in a star studded field as the second favourite at $5.50[12]. He was boxed in during the final straight and therefore fell to a disappointing 4th[13]. His final valid race of the season was at Flemington in the Darley Classic where he again placed 4th. Following this, Chautauqua failed to jump from the start box in six successive trials.[2]

2018-2019 SeasonEdit

Chautauqua again failed to start in his first trial of the 2018 season. Two weeks later he started in a trial placing 2nd and thus gave fans hope that his career was not over.[2]

Chautauqua was given a final chance jump in a specially arranged Moonee Valley Friday night trial. This 1000m trial would have solidified Chautauqua's race position in the 2018 Everest Cup. Chautauqua did not jump and was subsequently retired officially that night by part owner Rupert Legh. He was given an applauded parade down the strait of the Moonee Valley Racecourse as a final farewell. Jockey Tommy Berry and co-trainer Michael Hawkes both admitted to being overcome with emotion after confirming the end of Chautauqua's race career[14]. Chautauqua was then commissioned to lead out the 2018 Everest Cup Field as a Randwick farewell[15]. On the following Saturday he was farewelled at Flemington by being paraded in the mounting yard.[16] Chautauqua's exciting performances were adored by racing fans, evidencing the positive animal and human relationships displayed in sport.[17] Chautauqua's career has helped support one of Australia's much loved sports, racing.[18] Chautauqua has left a legacy with any 'come from behind' victories in racing being compared to the gelding or dubbed as "Chautauqua like victory"[19].

Controversy on refusing to jumpEdit

Chautauqua's refusal to leave the starting barriers was a rare and unseen issue encountered by Racing NSW before. After Chautauqua refused to leave the start box after consecutive races, the welfare of the horse was questioned. Co-trainer Michael Hawkes and owner Robert Legh both admitted to not understanding what was wrong with Chautauqua[20]. Both claimed he was fit and healthy and just did not want to race. Equine doctor, Andrew Mclean believed Chautauqua was not suffering by constantly racing[21]. Mclean believed Chautauqua's behaviour was being caused by a 'freeze response' which was being initiated by a large adrenalin surge as the barriers opened[21]. After Chautauqua refused to jump for the sixth consecutive trial, Racing NSW considered banning him from racing as there was no current rule to govern horses did not leave the starting barriers[21]. However, Chautauqua was instead retired by owners and trainers on his 7th consecutive incident at the start box in a trial during 2019[14].


Chautauqua retired as Australia's 3rd greatest stakes-earning sprinter behind sprinters Winx and Redzel. Chautauqua earned more than racing great Black Caviar.[22] From his 32 starts, Chautauqua won 13 races and placed in 7. This left him with a win rate of 40.6% and a place rate of 75%[2]. Chautauqua's 4-year career spanned almost 3 years more than the national average for a gelding.[23]

Race Type Wins
Group 1 6
Group 2 4
Group 3 2

Post RetirementEdit

Chautauqua now resides on a property in South Geelong. He is being trained as a show horse[10]. He will be trained by former jockey Casey Bruce and horse racing broadcaster Rob Gaylard[24]. Chautauqua's new daily regime includes trotting and circle work in order to be converted into a hack. Gaylard regards Chautauqua as “highly intelligent” and now goes by the show name ‘Sharky’[10]. Chautauqua has since had a small 15 minute documentary made about his journey after racing and development as a show horse. It was titled 'Chautauqua - A New Journey' and the first instalment aired in April 2020 on and Foxtel channel 529[25].


Chautauqua is considered to have a strong pedigree line, being fathered by famous stallion, Encosta De Lago. Encosta De Lago has fathered many other champion racehorses including Alinghi, Princess Coup, Sacred Kingdom and Sirmione. Lion Hunter (Chautauqua's grandfather) is also considered to carry a strong line, having a world record number of wins from his offspring[26]. Additionally Fairy King has sired horses which have achieved over 395 wins.

Pedigree of Chautauqua
Encosta De Lago (AUS) -1993
Fairy King (USA) - 1982 Northern Dancer (CAN) - 1961 Nearctic (CAN) - 1954
Natalma (USA) - 1957
Fairy Bridge (USA) - 1975 Bold Reason (USA) - 1968
Special (USA) - 1969
Shoal Creek (AUS) - 1988 Star Way (GB) - 1977 Star Appeal (IRE) - 1970
New Way (GB) - 1970
Rolls (USA) - 1984 Mr Prospector (USA) - 1970
Grand Lux (CAN) - 1974
Lovely Jubly (AUS) -1999
Lion Hunter (AUS) - 1992 Danehill (USA) - 1986 Danzig (USA) - 1977
Razyana (USA) - 1981
Pure of Heart (IRE) - 1978 Godswalk (USA) - 1974
Audrey Joan (GB) - 1963
Jaboulet (NZ) - 1988 Vice Regal (NZ) - 1973 Bismark (GB) - 1967
Kind Regards (NZ) - 1966
Avadel (NZ) - 1979 In the Purple (FR) - 1966
Mordello (NZ) - 1961



  1. ^ Winter, Caroline; Frew, Elspeth (4 July 2018). "Thoroughbred racing: Backstage at the Sport of Kings". Leisure Studies. 37 (4): 452–465. doi:10.1080/02614367.2018.1454975. ISSN 0261-4367.
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  8. ^ "TJ Smith Stakes results – 2016". Just Horse Racing. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  9. ^ TJ SMITH STAKES 2016, retrieved 26 May 2020
  10. ^ a b c Attwood, Alan (11 October 2019). "Stubborn as a mule: the champion racehorse that went on strike". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  11. ^ "2017 TJ Smith Stakes Results: Chautauqua Wins Again -". Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  12. ^ "Comprehensive The Everest 2017 Form Guide: Horse-by-Horse -". Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  13. ^ "TAB". Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  14. ^ a b "Tears and cheers as Chautauqua bows out". Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  15. ^ "Chautauqua farewell announced for Randwick". Just Horse Racing. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  16. ^ "Retired Chautauqua in Flemington farewell". Riverine Herald. 6 October 2018. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  17. ^ McManus, Phil; Montoya, Daniel (1 June 2012). "Toward new understandings of human–animal relationships in sport: a study of Australian jumps racing". Social & Cultural Geography. 13 (4): 399–420. doi:10.1080/14649365.2012.688852. ISSN 1464-9365.
  18. ^ Lemon, A. "Sports Around the World : History, Culture, and Practice". Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  19. ^ "'Chautauqua of the Bush' set to relish Eagle Farm". Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  20. ^ "The 'mental issue' that has probably ended Chautauqua's career". The New Daily. 7 August 2018. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  21. ^ a b c "The champion racehorse that doesn't want to race". 7 August 2018. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  22. ^ "The 20 greatest Australian racehorses of the past 20 years". The Roar. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
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  25. ^ McGrath, Adam. "Chautauqua's New Journey". RACING.COM. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  26. ^ "World record for Lion Hunter > Australia and International Horse Racing news updated daily". Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  27. ^ "Chautauqua Horse Pedigree". Retrieved 19 May 2020.