Connections of star Kiwi three year old Xtravagant could be looking for a new jockey for the Group 1 $750,000 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 5 after regular rider Matt Cameron took a heavy tumble at Matamata on Sunday.
Cameron has been aboard Xtravagant for seven of his eight race starts for four wins, including two Group 1 victories in the 2015 NZ$400,000 N.Z. 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton Park and in the Group 1 NZ$218,000 NRM Sprint (1400m) at Te Rapa last Saturday.
Cameron was dislodged from Pentire Babe in the first race at Matamata on Sunday and was knocked unconscious and last year’s leading rider’s return to the saddle is yet to be determined.
New Zealand Racing Integrity Unit’s Co-chief Stipendiary Steward, Ross Neal, said that if Cameron head sustained a concussion, he would have to undergo stringent tests before being allowed back into the saddle.
“Our protocols are very similar to a number of major sporting codes now with all of our jockeys having taken and passed a standard concussion test with those results held by New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing as a baseline for each individual,” Neal told NZRacing news.
“Should a rider suffer a concussion they must firstly be cleared by their regular doctor to undertake a further test which is then administered by NZTR’s medical personnel and compared with their baseline result to determine if a clearance to ride can be provided.”
The win by Xtravagant on the weekend confirmed an Australian Guineas start and cemented the Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards trained colt at the top of the market order at $5 with Ladbrokes.com.au ahead of the Darren Weir trained pair of Palentino at $6 and Mahuta at $6.50.
‘’We had plenty of softer option for the horse and they were tempting on the back of his last start (defeat) but we’ve always said that we had to test him against the best over here before coming over (to Australia), ” Autridge said.
‘’And that’s what we did. There were multiple Group 1 winners in the race and he won it easily so the decision to come over was an easy one.’’
The Darren Weir trained Mahuta took his winning run to six with an all the way victory in the Group 2 $200,000 Hyland Race Colours Autumn Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield last Saturday ad is solid in the Australian Guineas betting at $6.50.
Brad Rawiller took Mahuta straight to the front from the inside gate and set up a solid pace in the middle stages before holding on to score a nose win from the fast finishing Sailing By.
The eye catching run of the race was the Victoria Derby winner Tarzino who flashed to the line to finish one and a quarter lengths from the winner for the winner after being last on the home turn.
The Mick Price trained Tarzino is now an $8 chance for the Australian Guineas alongside of the Lindsay Park trained Risque who scored a come from behind win in the Group 3 $150,000 Kevin Hayes Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield last Saturday at her first Australian start.