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TJ first for Chautauqua before Everest

The managing owner of Chautauqua has confirmed the group has secured a slot to run in the Everest.

But first Chautauqua will attempt a third straight victory in the Group One TJ Smith (1200m) at Randwick on Saturday, the opening day of The Championships.

Rupert Legh said one of Chautauqua’s shareholders, who wanted to remain anonymous, had contacted him about securing an Everest slot, a long-term $1.8 million investment over three years.

The co-owner asked Legh if the other owners would be interested in the Everest in October on a pro-rata basis.

“I rang around and everyone agreed to do that,” Legh told RSN927.

“His idea was he didn’t want to be sharing it with anyone else.

“We own the horse so why don’t we pay the fee and give ourselves the chance of winning it and picking up the whole prize.”

Legh said he could see no reason why Chautauqua, a rising seven-year-old, could not back up another shot at the 2018 Everest, although he remained sceptical about a third attempt.

“The biggest problem is there could be another Chautauqua, a two-year-old, coming through the ranks this year,” he said.

Chautauqua is the $4.60 favourite for Saturday’s Group One sprint and Legh is confident he can secure a third straight win in the race.

Legh said a decision on Chautauqua’s next start following the TJ Smith was in the hands of senior trainer John Hawkes.

Chautauqua could back up in the All Aged Stakes on April 15, make a return trip to Hong Kong for the Chairman’s Sprint Prize or go for a spell.

“He (Hawkes) is the captain-coach and we don’t get ourselves involved in the decision making,” Legh said.

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