2016 Stradbroke Handicap Aim for Kiwi Xtravagant

A nice piece of work at home in New Zealand for Kiwi youngster Xtravagant has connections looking forward to a trip to Brisbane for a shot at Queensland’s richest race, the Stradbroke Handicap 2016, this winter.


Early 2016 Stradbroke Handicap odds are led by Malaguerra (pictured). Photo: Steve Hart.

Prepared by Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards, Pentire colt Xtravagant has won five of his nine career starts to date including the Group 1 NZ 2000 Guineas (1600m) by a runaway eight and a half lengths last November.

After another elite level win in mid-February’s Group 1 NRM Sprint (1400m) the New Zealander travelled to Australia for the first time for a shot at the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) over the Flemington mile on March 5.

He only managed to finish four and a half lengths away eighth in a midfield finish behind the winner Palentino however.

This week Xtravagant returned to fast work rolling over the 1000m at Matamata on Tuesday morning in a smart 1:16.4.

His final 600m sectional was completed in 44.8 seconds and he is down to gallop again between races Wednesday week at Te Aroha.

The horse’s co-trainers are now eyeing a first-up run on April 30 at Te Rapa in the Group 3 Cambridge Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) before he returns down under for a second time.

Targeting the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival features, the rising four-year-old is likely to run in the $750,000 Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) on May 28.

From there the classic $1.5 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at the recently upgraded Eagle Farm Racecourse on June 11 could be on the agenda.

Pre-nomination Stradbroke Handicap betting is already open at Ladbrokes.com.au and has Xtravagant listed as an $11 shot, equal with Matthew Dale’s Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) runner-up to Chautauqua on April 2 at Randwick Fell Swoop.

The all-in Stradbroke Handicap odds are currently led by the in-form Lee & Anthony Freedman-trained Malaguerra ($4.50) and Ciaron Maher’s Group 1 winning mare Azkadellia ($5).

Malaguerra is a dual nominee at Randwick Racecourse in Sydney this Saturday including in the $600,000 Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) after his Group 3 Star Kingdom Stakes (1200m) win at Rosehill on March 26.

Azkadellia meanwhile saluted for the punters on the quick back-up last weekend, returning just seven days after her Doncaster Mile third behind Winx to win the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) by an easy two lengths.

Also identified as an early Stradbroke Handicap prospect this coming winter is the Kris Lees-trained Le Romain, winner of the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) last month.

The Hard Spun three-year-old failed to impress over further when seventh to Tarzino next run in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) and will be kept to shorter distance targets including the Stradbroke next time in.

The horse is set to head into the Stradbroke Handicap via a first-up Brisbane run in the $135,000 Listed Queensland Day Stakes (1200m) at Doomben on May 28.

“He’s had a break and he’s back on the water walker now,” Lees told The Courier-Mail this week.

“The plan would be to run in the (Queensland Day Stakes) 1200m three-year-old race a fortnight before, and go into the Stradbroke second-up.”

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