New Zealand horseman Stephen Autridge is already eyeing off a Group 1 assignment down under during the Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival with next year’s Australian Guineas 2016 a possible aim for Xtravagant.
A three-year-old Pentire colt, Xtravagant has had five starts to date for a hat-trick of wins and a third, his only unplaced run being an eighth in the Listed Northland Breeders Stakes (1200m) at Ruakaka in September.
He has won his latest two spring starts including his biggest turf triumph so far at Riccarton Park when stepped up to a mile for the first time over the weekend taking out Saturday’s Group 1 N.Z. 2000 Guineas (1600m).
Connections of the Te Akau Breeding Syndicate-raced up-and-comer are now keen to travel to Australia chasing even bigger Group 1 wins next year, Autridge naming in particular the $600,000 Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington Racecourse on March 6.
Xtravagant looks like a three-year-old that could be more than competitive during the Melbourne Festival of Racing after smashing his rivals in the NZ 2000 Guineas over the weekend by an emphatic eight and a half lengths.
New Zealand-trained three-year-olds also have an outstanding record in the features for that age group in Australian during the autumn.
Last year in Sydney the Kiwi duo of Volkstok’n’barrell and Murray Baker’s subsequent Caulfield Cup champion this spring Mongolian Khan won the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) and the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) respectively.
A stablemate of Mongolian Khan, Turn Me Loose, won last year’s NZ 2000 Guineas and has franked the form in Australia this spring with a trio of wins including the impressive all-the-way victory in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington over the weekend.
Before his trip to Australia, Xtravagant is set to enjoy a short spell at Te Akau Stud with plans for a short summer campaign at home ahead of the Melbourne raid.
“He’ll have a couple of weeks out at Te Akau and we’ll bring him back and get him up for the Levin Classic,” Autridge told The Informant.
“That’s over 1600 metres and it’s another Group I so it’s a race that fits well
“If it’s all going the right way he’ll have one more start here and then go to Melbourne for the Australian Guineas. You win that and you’ve got a stallion for sure.
“All I know is he’s a very exciting galloper and we’re all looking forward to what lies ahead for him.”
Purchased for $375,000, Xtravagant has so far won $258,000 for his owners that he’ll look to add to first-up in the Levin Classic at set-weights during the Wellington Cup Carnival in January.
2016 Australian Guineas nominations close in late February and traditional lead-up races to the classic include the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) on February 20 at Flemington and Moonee Valley’s Group 2 Alistair Clarke Stakes (1600m) in mid-March.
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