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Chautauqua heads Newmarket Hcp weights

redkirk
Redkirk Warrior will have to carry an extra five kilograms than he did to win last year’s Newmarket.

Redkirk Warrior has been given 57.5kg for his Newmarket Handicap defence while champion sprinter Chautauqua has been allocated top weight with 58kg.

Weights for the $1.25 million Newmarket (1200m) at Flemington on March 10 were released on Tuesday, hours after Chautauqua twice refused to jump out of the barriers in trials in Sydney.

The three-time TJ Smith Stakes winner will now need to barrier trial to satisfaction of stewards before making his return to the races.

Should connections decide to have a third crack at a Newmarket Handicap after the gelding’s second in 2015 and third in 2016, Chautauqua would carry the No.1 saddlecloth.

“While Chautauqua may no longer be regarded as the world’s best sprinter, he is still performing at a level worthy of the highest rating in this year’s race due to his proven Group One record at the distance and track,” Racing Victoria handicapper David Hegan said.

Redkirk Warrior became the first horse in 100 years to win the Newmarket Handicap first-up from a spell last year when he carried 52.5kg.

The seven-year-old gelding stormed home first-up this campaign to win the Group One Lightning Stakes at Flemington on February 17, defeating star sprinter Redzel.

Hey Doc has been given 56.5kg, the same as Saturday’s Oakleigh Plate winner Russian Revolution and Futurity Stakes winner Brave Smash.

Group One-winning three-year-old colt Merchant Navy is the early current $4.60 favourite and has 52kg.

Acceptances for the Newmarket are taken next Tuesday.

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