Despite holding a nomination for the Chandler Macleod Stakes at Moonee Valley this weekend the Jamie Richards & Stephen Autridge-trained Cox Plate hope Xtravagant won’t kick off his spring bid until the Bobbie Lewis Quality 2016.
The Te Akau Racing-owned New Zealand galloper was the highest-rated and 60kg top-weighted of 22 nominations taken for Saturday’s $120,000 Listed Chandler Macleod Stakes (1200m) on Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes Day.
After suffering from a slight temperature elevation early in the week, his Matamata-based owners have opted to delay the Pentire stallion’s Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival with the horse also missing out on a Tuesday morning track gallop to recover.
“Sunday morning, he left a little bit of feed and had a slightly elevated temperature. He was immediately treated for this and by mid-afternoon, his temperature was back to normal,” Te Akau Racing said in a statement.
“Sunday night he cleaned up all of his feed and this morning our co-trainer Steve Autridge said he was back to normal – no temperature and back to his happy self.
“The bottom line is that, with our veterinary team, we do not think it is in Blake’s best interests for us to gallop him Tuesday morning.
“Be assured that this is a disappointment – not a serious problem – just a frustration and an untimely one.
“This is of course, as you know, what can happen with horses despite the very best care and attention – we all know that they are not machines.”
While a run this weekend would have given the now four-year-old a nice early look at the Valley circuit, host to his Grand Final target in October, the team has had to settle for a start down the Flemington straight Saturday week instead.
Xtravagant, who is being aimed at the $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m) on October 22, will resume on September 10 in the $200,000 Group 2 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m).
The horse has won six of his 10 career starts to date including two Group 1s back home in New Zealand.
He travelled down under on the back of his last elite level win in the autumn, but could only manage to cross 4.5 lengths away eighth as the beaten favourite behind Palentino in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) in early March.
Co-trainer Richards sent the horse back home after that failed run where Xtravagant re-entered the winners’ stall with a Group 3 win over 1200m.
His longest-distanced win so far is over a mile (1600m), but Richards is confident he can extend out further for a shot at Australasia’s weight-for-age championship.
Current all-in Cox Plate odds at Ladbrokes.com.au are firmly led by Chris Waller’s reigning champion Winx ($2.50) who shoots for her 11th straight win on Saturday in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) in Sydney.
Xtravagant meanwhile can be found further down the futures Cox Plate betting markets at $21.
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