Daniel O’Sullivan has Xtravagant on top of his 2016 Australian Guineas tips and he believes that the talented colt is clearly the best horse in the Group 1 event at Flemington this weekend.
Xtravagant showed his talent when he took out the Group 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton Park on November by eight and a half lengths and he justified his position as Australian Guineas favourite with another dominant victory in the Group 1 NRM Sprint (1400m) at Te Rapa on February 13.
O’Sullivan told Racing Active that the sectional times produced by Xtravagant in those two race wins place him at a level that is clearly above any other horse in the Australian Guineas field and he believes if the Pentire colt handles the trip to Australia he will prove far too good this weekend.
“He is clearly the horse to beat,” O’Sullivan said.
“His two big wins last start and in the 2000 New Zealand Guineas back in November were outstanding.
“That 2000 Guineas win, what he did on the clock there was phenomenal and he ran super-fast overall time to smash the other races on the day and he did it from the front.
“When he was asked for an effort just on straightening, the way that he powered away from that field and then held the margin in the last 200 was really only something top class horses can do.
“He comes into this race clearly established as the best horse in the race and he only needs to bring something like his A-game and I think he will have too much for this sort of opposition here.
“It is naturally a question and he has had some hold-ups in the travel, he still has to arrive and settle in, but it is also worth noting that he looks to control the race up on the speed and his only three defeats have come on tracks that were rated 6 to 7 in the New Zealand scale and he is not going to get that at Flemington.
“He is really well set-up here to run something like his best and if he does it is beyond the limits of anything else in this field.”
Perfect Reflection is currently on the fifth line of Australian Guineas betting at a quote of $9, but O’Sullivan believes that the talented filly is the major danger to Xtravagant in the Australian Guineas.
The More Than Ready filly made her Melbourne racing debut with a fast-finishing third in the Group 3 The Vanity (1400m) at Flemington on February 20, but O’Sullivan is confident that she can springboard off that performance and produce a much improved effort in the Australian Guineas.
“She is one of the horses that I am really interested in from a betting perspective,” O’Sullivan said.
“She came from WA to Darren Weir with a stellar record and she had won five from five, including beating the older horses in the Kingston Town.
“First-up she really had no chance, she settled back on the inside in a moderately run race and she was held-up for a big part of the straight there.
“That fillies race on the day was strong and she didn’t have every chance to do her best there.
“The combination of that, with winkers applied for the first time here and the Flemington mile which suits, she looks like a filly that is ready to explode in this race.
“At around that $9 or $10 she is a great value prospect here.”
Xtravagant is currently available at 2016 Australian Guineas odds of $3.20 with Ladbrokes and he is a clear favourite from Palentino ($7.50), Tarzino ($8), Mahuta ($8.50) and Perfect Reflection ($9).