The grey flash Chautauqua showed he’s still one of the premier sprinters on the planet with one of the more stunning wins you’ll ever see as he claimed a record third straight Group One T J Smith Stakes (1,200m) on Saturday.
It probably ranks as the signature run of his career.
A clear last with 350m to go, jockey Tommy Berry gets to work and weaves through the field as Chautauqua motors down the middle of the heavy Randwick track to grab English in the final stride.
You’ll probably need to watch the replay a few times before it sinks it.
The bad news for Hong Kong fans, it’s unlikely Chautauqua will be coming to Sha Tin to defend his Chairman’s Sprint Prize. Instead, he’s set to take a slot in A$10 million Everest in October.
That was the highlight of the four majors held on the first day of The Championships.
Zac Purton produced a gun front-running ride to take out the Doncaster Mile aboard Godolphin’s It’s Somewhat. Newmarket Handicap winner and one-time Hong Kong Derby favourite Redkirk Warrior didn’t handle the wet track and finished down the track.
Young New Zealand stayer Jon Snow backed up his win in last week’s Tulloch Stakes by prevailing in the Australian Derby. The favourite and New Zealand Derby winner Gingernuts came fifth.
Peter and Paul Snowden’s talented two-year-old Invader captured the other Group One, with Hugh Bowman guiding him to victory in the Inglis’ Sires.
The other superstar on show this weekend was in Japan where Kitasan Black bounced back to form in the Group One Osaka Hai at Hanshin on Sunday.
This was the first start of 2017 for the reigning Japanese Horse of the Year and he bounced back to the winner’s stall after finishing second in the Arima Kinen last start.
Jockey Yutaka Take settled just off the speed before cruising away in the straight to record a comfortable win.
He will now head to the Tenno Sho (Spring) for a mouth-watering clash against Satono Diamond. The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe remains a possibility after that.
The runner-up Stephanos, third placegetter Yamakatsu Ace and Satono Crown, who finished sixth, are all still entered for the QE II Cup.
Looking ahead to Saturday and all eyes will be on day two of The Championships, and particularly, the world’s best mare Winx as she shoots for a 17th straight victory in the Group One Queen Elizabeth Stakes.