Kiwi hoop Matt Cameron has secured the Australian Guineas 2016 ride aboard one of the top fancies for the Flemington feature Xtravagant.
Cameron suffered a concussion last Sunday after a race fall at Matamata, but the champion New Zealand jockey has since proven his fitness ahead of his ride aboard the Donna Logan-trained Hasselhoof in the Listed Parramatta Cup in Sydney this weekend.
“[After my mount] shied and veered away slightly, I went one way and all I can remember was [thinking] ‘oh there are a lot of horses behind me I hope they don’t run over the top of me’,” Cameron told Racing Ahead on RSN of the fall.
“That’s kind of the last thing I remember, I did a few flips and my face broke the fall, it wasn’t too flash, I was out for a couple of minutes.
“My neck is a little bit stiff … few grazes over my face and cuts and bruises everywhere, but other than that I’m actually walking around and moving around pretty good.”
Cameron’s other star mount during the autumn carnival season down under will be aboard the Stephen Autridge & Jamie Richards-trained Pentire colt Xtravagant.
He rode the five-time winner to victory over the weekend at Te Rapa in the Group 1 NRM Sprint (1400m) the day before his nearly very serious fall.
Xtravagant also won the Group 1 NZ 2000 Guineas (1600m) back in November and his NRM Sprint success atoned for his shock fourth to Dukedom in last month’s Group 1 Levin Classic (1600m) as the beaten odds-on favourite at Trentham.
Connections have locked the now dual Group 1 winner in for a trip to Australia where his first major assignment will be in the $750,000 Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 5 with Cameron in the saddle.
“Matt knows the horse like no-one else, what he likes and what he doesn’t like, and there’s no doubt in our minds that he’s the man for the job,” Te Akau principal David Ellis told The Informant.
“All he’s got to prove to me is he’s 100 percent and over his fall and he’s got the ride.”
Futures Australian Guineas odds at Ladbrokes.com.au have Xtravagant as the $4.80 favourite after his impressive eight length win on the weekend, which co-trainer Autridge confirmed he had pulled up well from.
“Looking at him yesterday you wouldn’t know he’d had a run,” Autridge said.
“What we have to do is keep him ticking over, step it up again and send him across during the week beforehand with all the serious work done at home.”
The next best in the all-in Australian Guineas betting markets currently include the Darren Weir-trained trio of Palentino ($6), Mahuta ($6.50) and Perfect Reflection ($7.50).
Teofilo colt Palentino was last seen running a midfield seventh after a luckless run behind Puritan in the Group 3 Manfred Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on February 6.
He runs again this Saturday at Flemington on Lightning Stakes Day in the $150,000 Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1200m), a race last year’s Australian Guineas winner Wandjina (2015) won on way to his success for Gai Waterhouse.
Mahuta staked his Australian Guineas claims last Saturday posting his sixth win on the trot in the Group 2 Autumn Stakes (1400m), while new stablemate Perfect Reflection debuts for the stable this weekend.
Formerly prepared in WA the undefeated Bob Peters-owned daughter of More Than Ready has won her five starts to date including her historical success as the first ever filly to take out the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) at Ascot in December.
She runs outside of Perth for the first time in Flemington’s $150,000 Group 3 The Vanity (1200m) on Saturday.
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