Winx naturally caught the eye with a track gallop on day one of The Championships, yet for once the mighty mare was upstaged.

Chautauqua captivated a crowd of more than 20,000 at Randwick on Saturday as he surged from dead last with 400m to travel to claim his third successive A$2.5m TJ Smith Stakes.

There were doubters - or, in co-trainer Wayne Hawkes words, "knockers" - who thought the world's best sprinter might have been past his prime when he finished third to Winx in the George Ryder Stakes.

That left the grey without a win in five starts since he claimed the $10 million Chairman's Handicap (1200m) at Sha Tin almost a year ago - a statistic that became irrelevant once Tommy Berry worked Chautauqua into clear ground with just enough time to nab the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained English.

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Chautauqua burst into the frame at the 50m mark and scored by a short neck, leaving all but the Hawkes brothers, Wayne and Michael, in disbelief. The six-year-old banked A$1.5 million to boost his earnings to A$8.36 million and eclipse the legendary Black Caviar's winnings.

- AAP