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Chautauqua topweight for Newmarket

The managing owner of Chautauqua says the star sprinter’s Newmarket Handicap weight is fair but a decision is still pending whether he takes up the challenge.

Chautauqua received 58kg in Tuesday’s release of weights for the 1200m sprint at Flemington on March 11 and Rupert Legh said the gelding was a 50-50 chance to run.

It is the same weight he had 12 months ago when third behind The Quarterback.

Chautauqua is still in Melbourne and holds a nomination for the Canterbury Stakes at Randwick on Saturday.

If the decision is made to run Chautauqua in Sydney the gelding will miss the Newmarket requiring weights to be raised half a kilogram.

Lightning Stakes winner Terravista is second on the handicaps with 56.5kg and for Group One races in Melbourne the topweight needs to carry a minimum of 57kg.

“That weight makes it really enticing to win a Newmarket,” Legh told RSN927.

“Chautauqua hasn’t won one yet but has gone very close.

“It’s a difficult decision but going north to the 1300 metres of the Canterbury Stakes opens up a lot more options for us because it tells us a bit more about the horse.”

Legh said he would discuss the options with the Hawkes Racing training team but if Chautauqua raced in Sydney on Saturday on a wet track it could possibly be more like a 1400m race.

That could open options to either drop back in distance to the TJ Smith (1200m) at Randwick or step up in distance to tackle Winx in the George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill and then possibly go on to The Doncaster during The Championships.

Chautauqua shares equal third favouritism with Extreme Choice at $8 behind Spieth at $4.40 and Flying Artie at $6.

Spieth, chasing a first Group One win after second placings in the Darley Classic and Lightning Stakes at his past two starts, has 55kg.

Three-year-olds Flying Artie and Extreme Choice have each received 52.5kg, half a kilo more than Star Turn who finished third in the Lightning Stakes at his last start

The Quarterback has 54.5kg, a rise of 2.5kg on last year’s winning weight.

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