Managing owner and Te Akau Racing boss David Ellis has confirmed a Melbourne-only spring campaign for classy young Kiwi galloper Xtravagant who targets the 2016 Cox Plate in October.
A winner of six of his 10 starts to date, three-year-old Pentire colt Xtravagant is a super-consistent up-and-comer prepared at Matamata in New Zealand by Jamie Richards.
He made headlines back in mid-February with a runaway eight length Group 1 NRM Sprint (1400m) victory at Te Rapa, which was his second Group 1 success following that in the NZ 200 Guineas (1600m) in November last year.
Xtravagant then travelled down under for the first time in early March, but could only manage to finish 4.5 lengths away eighth behind Palentino in Flemington’s Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m).
He returned to winning form back at Te Rapa in late April however taking out the Group 3 Breeders Stakes (1200m) at his latest run.
Ellis and co. are now set to bring the talented galloper back to Australia for his next campaign with Xtravagant set to race exclusively in Melbourne this spring, helping avoid the muddy tracks in NZ.
“The plan is to take him to Melbourne in early August and he will then race there through the spring,” Ellis told the NZ Racing Desk.
“We will probably trial him there on the better tracks and look to kick him off at Caulfield on the 27th, most likely in the (Group 3) Heath Stakes over 1100 metres.
“We will then be looking to run him in races like the Toorak Handicap and hopefully he will finish up in the Cox Plate.
“After a month of pre-training at Te Akau Stud he is back in the stable and he has settled in really well – he looks fantastic.”
His major target, Australasia’s weight-for-age championship, the $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m) runs at Moonee Valley a fortnight after the $400,000 Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield.
Futures Cox Plate odds at Ladbrokes.com.au are firmly led by Chris Waller’s superstar mare Winx who is already at a short $3 pre-nominations to successfully defend her title in the classic.
If successful the daughter of Street Cry, last seen winning three straight Group 1s in Sydney during the autumn including the Doncaster Mile on April 2, will be the first back-to-back Cox Plate winner since So You Think (2009-10).
The last mare to score successive Cox Plate wins was New Zealander Sunline (1999-2000).
Xtravagant is also high up the early Cox Plate betting markets at $17, an equal price with Kris Lees’ Queen Elizabeth Stakes winning mare Lucia Valentina and Japanese raider Maurice who won the Group 1 Champions Mile (1600m) in Hong Kong on May 1.
Check out the Top 20 in ante-post Cox Plate 2016 betting below, locking in your early favourites at their generous odds through Ladbrokes.com.au!