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Dunn Happy With Chautauqua Despite Draw
With the spotlight unsurprisingly on the Cox Plate on Saturday it is easy to forget that another exciting feature race is scheduled for this weekend with the running of the Gr1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on Friday night. The headline act will no doubt be the clash between star sprinters Chautauqua and Buffering, but it would be perilous to think this was simply a two horse race with eight other Gr1 winners in the race, including Golden Slipper winner Capitalist, English, Japonisme and Lucky Hussler. Chautauqua, currently rated the world's best sprinter, has drawn barrier one for the $3 million feature and will ridden by Team Hawkes' number one jockey Dwayne Dunn. The 5-time Gr1 winner will be seeking to get his spring campaign back on track after resuming with a fast-finishing fourth in the Gr1 Moir Stakes over 1000 metres at Moonee Valley last start. Speaking on Melbourne's Radio Sport National following yesterday's barrier draw, Dunn admitted the inside gate does make Chautauqua's task a touch more awkward. "It would have been nice to draw in the middle so he could get some clear running but it is what it is...it does change the dynamics of the race a little bit now," he said. "But I'm pretty happy with where the horse is at. He walked away beaten last time at the Valley but he ran exactly the same time as he did the year before [when winning] so 1200 metres [on Friday] suits him so much better. He will get a chance to travel and hopefully you will see the grey flash just charge straight down the centre."