A flight cancellation hasn’t dampened the confidence of Kiwi trainer Stephen Autridge about the chances of Xtravagant who remains at the top of the betting for the Group 1 $750,000 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Xtravagant was due to leave New Zealand on a 4pm flight on Wednesday afternoon but the flight was cancelled, leaving Autridge to organise alternative arrangements.
The dual Group 1 winner was then scheduled to leave at 2am on Thursday morning to arrive in Melbourne around 9am.
Autrudge said that the delay won’t affect Xtravagant’s Australian Guineas preparation as he had completed all his fast work and is ready to go.
“He’s done all of his work and he’s spot on,” said Autridge told the Herald Sun.
“Instead of being on a flight he had a swim and a walk around. He’s been bucking and kicking so he’s pretty happy.
“The only difference is that he gets here a bit later. If he travels as well as he usually does then I won’t have a concern.”
Xtravagant drew perfectly at barrier three and has continued to firm in the betting for the Australian Guineas and is now the $3.30 favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au after opening at $3.70 when the final field was released on Wednesday.
“To be honest, I’m only just starting to appreciate his barrier with the problems about him getting here but now I have it’s perfect,” Autridge said.
“He jumps very good and he’ll lead for a bit. If anything wants to go on then he’ll take a sit.”
Leading Kiwi jockey Matt Cameron has been aboard Xtravagant for seven of his eight race starts and the pair have collected four wins together, including two Group 1s, the NZ$400,000 N.Z. 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton Park on November 7 and the NZ$218,000 NRM Sprint (1400m) at Te Rapa in New Zealand on February 13.
Cameron will be having his first ride at Flemington when he teams up again with Xtravagant in the Australian Guineas but will walk the track with former champion Kiwi jockey Brent Thomson after he arrives in Melbourne on Friday.
Australian Guineas market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $3.30 Xtravagant, $7 Palentino, $8 Tarzino, $9 Mahuta, $10 Perfect Reflection, $11 Risque, $15 Tivaci, $17 Jameka, $19 Tulsa, River Wild, $26 Sovereign Nation, $31 Vanburgh, Sailing By, $41 Bon Aurum, Ready For Victory, $51 Snoopy.