The mighty Chautauqua's racing career could be decided as soon as this Friday when he will be again tested at the gates in a jumpout at Flemington.
Co-trainer Wayne Hawkes told Racing.com's After The Last program on Tuesday that the three-time T.J. Smith Stakes winner was back in work and impressing ahead of his crucial date with the barriers in the 800-metre jumpout.
"He's feeling pretty good and he looks a million dollars," Hawkes said. "But he's got to jump out of the gates.
"At the moment he's got an embargo and cannot race."
Asked by host Brent Zerafa as to how he has performed in the gates in early training, Hawkes said: "He's done everything spot-on."
Chautauqua did not race in the autumn as he four times refused to jump from the barriers in trials. He failed twice at Randwick on February 27 before again refusing to jump with the field and being declared 'left at the post' at the Rosehill trials on March 8.
Nine days later, he flatly refused to leave the barriers in a Cranbourne trial and was sent immediately for a spell.
Hawkes confirmed connections had The Everest as the ultimate goal for the horse but admitted the grey had to perform.
"He's got a few hurdles to jump yet but he's as good as we can get him," Hawkes added.
"He is great and I mean that in all seriousness. I wouldn't change a thing."
Hawkes said that if Chautauqua jumps from the gates on Friday and trials well, he will return to Sydney where he will attempt to have his racing ban lifted via an official trial.
The rising eight-year-old has reigned as the world's leading sprinter and has won connections $8.8 million in prizemoney.