Wayne Hawkes says there is hope for Chautauqua followers after the sprinter was given the tick of approval in a Flemington jump-out.
Racing Victoria stewards passed the sprinter after he jumped out cleanly on Friday, paving the way for Chautauqua to have an official trial in his bid for a racetrack return.
That trial could be as early as next Friday at the Moir Stakes meeting at Moonee Valley.
Racing NSW stewards placed a ban on the gelding after he failed to jump in six trials.
He was given a reprieve after a special race day trial at Rosehill on August 25 when he was slowly away but tacked on to the field, finishing second.
His relieved managing part-owner Rupert Legh said Chautauqua took a major step forward on Friday.
“Moonee Valley have been in touch and they’re keen to put a trial on at the races because in Victoria that’s the process, one jump-out and an official trial,” Legh said.
“We’d like to cross that bridge as soon as we can and then we can make decisions after that.
“We don’t want to be making decisions beyond next week and then we can sort out which path we take.”
Hawkes, who was joined at Flemington by his co-trainer father John, said a lot of hard work had been poured into the gelding over the past month.
He said Chautauqua had returned from Sydney with a different attitude, seeming more focused.
But Hawkes said the team wasn’t getting ahead of themselves.
“It’s only one jump-out and we’ve got a few more hurdles to jump yet, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction,” he said.
“But if he didn’t jump he would be going straight to the paddock, so there’s still hope for the Chautauqua followers yet.”
RV’s deputy chairman of stewards Rob Montgomery said Chautauqua had jumped away better than he had for a long time.
“He had to stay in the stalls for a while as one was a little unruly and late getting around there,” Montgomery said.
Tommy Berry, who made the trip from Sydney to ride him, said Chautauqua jumped about the same as he does on race day, but noted he had also been slower out in a race.
Friday was the first time Berry had been aboard the gelding since Rosehill and said he felt the same as before that trial, only this time he jumped.
“We’ve still got a long way to go before getting him back to the races, but it’s looking better than it did yesterday,” he said.
Once ranked the world’s best sprinter, Chautauqua has won six Group One races and more than $8.8 million prize money.