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By Graham Potter | Saturday, August 25, 2018

Graham Potter writes a weekly column for the Sunshine Coast daily. Due to demand from those having trouble accessing the paper these columns are now also published on HRO courtesy of the Sunshine Coast daily.

After months of agonising over the racing future of Chautauqua the magnificent looking, multiple Group 1 winner will face his moment of truth in a special barrier trial which will be conducted in-between the third and fourth races at Rosehill today.

It will be heart in the mouth stuff, a sudden death moment which could give the grey’s connections the biggest cheer they would have had in a long time or leave them in despair.

If Chautauqua stays in the barriers, Racing NSW stewards, acting under the provisions of Australian Rule 50, will then invoke their right to refuse the gelding’s nomination for all barrier trials and races because of his regular failure to perform to the standard required for horses at the start, a situation that dates back to February this year.

The big carrot of course is Chautauqua’s possible participation in the $13 million The Everest which will be contested at Randwick on October 13. Two slots remain in the field with one being kept tentatively open for Chautauqua’s renaissance, that is, if all goes well tomorrow.

Connections have steadfastly resisted an offer from world renowned ‘horse whisperer’ Monty Roberts to be part of the solution but they have instead placed the gelding under the care of a reportedly well-respected (but unnamed) thoroughbred behaviourist and they believe Chautauqua has responded well to his methods.

Opinion still remains very much divided about the push for Chautauqua to continue his racing career. There are those steadfast in their view that the horse has done enough and should be retired with the question often being put in play being, if the lure of the $13 million The Everest was not there, would we be going through all of this?

For their part Chautauqua’s connections, who work with the horse every day, believe he still has a lot to offer and they are just pursuing a natural path for a thoroughbred who, they say, ‘wants to be a racehorse.’

No doubt it will be a magical moment and one that would go down in racing folklore if Chautauqua were to win The Everest. In another sense it would also be a good outcome for connections, if not as lucrative, if Chautauqua does race on (whatever his results) and remains happy, healthy and injury-free.

After-all, his well-being is absolute.

Others believe it is not worth the risk.

Wherever you stand in that argument it is a case of first steps first … or, should I say, the final step.

And so to that barrier trial.

It will arguably be the biggest audience ever for a barrier trial.

You should watch it but, if you miss it, rest assured you will be able to read all about it.

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