Trainer Stephen Autridge has revealed that the 2015 Australian Guineas will be the early autumn target for Xtravagant following his dominant victory in the New Zealand 2000 Guineas at Riccarton on Saturday.
Xtravagant went into the New Zealand 2000 Guineas as favourite following his impressive win in the Wellington Guineas Trial (1400m) at Trentham on October 24 and he was taken straight to the lead by jockey Matthew Cameron in the early stages of the race.
The Pentire colt was challenged by Amarula at the top of the straight, but Cameron did not move on the three-year-old until the 300 metre mark and he quickly ran away from his rivals when asked for an extra effort to record a simply outstanding eight and a half lengths victory from Battle Time and Serena Miss.
Autridge confirmed that Xtravagant will now head for a brief stint in the spelling paddock, but he is set to return to racing for the Group 1 Levin Classic (1600m) at Trentham in January before he heads across the ditch for the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 5.
He’ll have a couple of weeks out at Te Akau and we’ll bring him back and get him up for the Levin Classic,” Autridge told The Informant.
“That’s over 1600 metres and it’s another Group One, so it’s a race that fits well.
“If it’s all going the right way he’ll have one more start here and then go to Melbourne for the Australian Guineas.
“You win that and you’ve got a stallion for sure.
“We’re confident he would run a trip, especially ridden in behind.
“We were in the process of teaching him that style but then when he went and drew so side in the Guineas he had no option but to go forward.
“All I know is he’s a very exciting galloper and we’re all looking forward to what lies ahead for him.”
Xtravagant was given three barrier trials before he made his racing debut with a dominant seven lengths victory in a maiden at Hastings on April 18, but he did a great deal wrong when he finished eighth behind The Justice League in the Listed Northland Breeders Stakes (1200m) at Ruakaka on September 12.
The colt produced an improved performance when third behind Let Her Rip and Untamed Diamond in the Hinuera Lodge Handicap (1200m) at Te Rapa on October 2 before he stamped himself as the most exciting three-year-old in New Zealand with back-to-back race wins.
New Zealand 2000 Guineas winners that have had success in Australia included Surfers Paradise, Veandercross, Darci Brahma, Jimmy Choux, Scared Falls and Turn Me Loose.