A capacity field of sixteen fillies will line up...
A trip down under targeting the 2016 Australian Guineas in Melbourne this March is still on the agenda for star Kiwi colt Xtravagant despite his shock loss back home over the weekend.
Co-trainer Stephen Autridge assured the media after the star son of Pentire’s loss to Dukedom in the Group 1 Levin Classic (1600m) at Trentham on Saturday that it was still all systems go for the three-year-old to make an assault on the Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival in Australia this season.
A winner of four of his seven career starts to date including the Group 1 N.Z. 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton Park last November, the $375,000 yearling buy jumped odds-on $1.30 favourite in the Levin Classic.
He could only manage to finish two lengths away fourth to the winner however in his first loss in Group 1 company, something Autridge hopes he can atone for on more suitable ground.
“We’re just blaming the run on the (deteriorating) track at this stage,” Autridge, who trains the New Zealand star in partnership with Jamie Richards, told Racing Victoria.
“The track was called a Dead 6 which is not meant to be too bad but by the middle of the day they were racing on the outside half of the track and he just couldn’t get a footing or accelerate and I don’t think racing off the fence suited him.
“We’ll just run some tests on him over the next few days and make sure that everything’s alright.
“If we’re very happy with them then at this stage we’d have to consider the same plan which is a race at Te Rapa in four-weeks and if we’re happy with how he runs there then he’d still be on his way to Flemington.”
Should he make it to Melbourne the confirmed autumn feature target for Xtravagant is the $500,000 Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) on March 5.
Futures Australian Guineas betting at Ladbrokes.com.au still features Xtravagant at the top of the markets paying $5.
There are currently four other single figure hopes including the Grant Williams-trained Perth filly Perfect Reflection ($7) and Chris Waller’s Caulfield Guineas winner Press Statement ($8).
A talented daughter of More Than Ready, Perfect Reflection made history back in December when she became the first three-year-old filly in history to win the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) back home in WA.
That was her fifth turf triumph from as many career starts, the undefeated youngster having already amassed over $870,000 in prize money.
Fillies have won two of the past five editions of the Australian Guineas with Shamrocker (2011) and Mosheen (2012) going back-to-back.
Hinchinbrook colt Press Statement meanwhile has won five of his seven career runs including the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) over the mile in Melbourne last October.
In his first public appearance since, he trialled over 838m at Randwick on January 12 and finished a close third in a blanket finish behind Peter & Paul Snowden’s Blue Diamond Stakes – ATC Sires Produce double winner Pride Of Dubai.
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