Star Kiwi colt Xtravagant remains on track to make the trip to Melbourne for the 2016 Australian Guineas despite suffering a shock defeat in the Group 1 Levin Classic (1600m) at Trentham on Saturday.
Xtravagant went into the Levin Classic as a dominant favourite following his victories in the Group 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton Park on November 7 and the New Zealand Herald Stakes (1400m) at Ellerslie on Boxing Day, but the Pentire colt was taken on by a number of his rivals in the early stages of the race and he tired in the final stages of the race to finish fourth.
Trainer Stephen Autridge put the defeat down to the soft Trentham track and he said at this stage Xtravagant would have his next race start at Te Rapa next month before he makes the trip across the Tasman for the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 5.
“We’re just blaming the run on the track at this stage,” Autridge said.
“The track was called a Dead 6 which is not meant to be too bad but by the middle of the day they were racing on the outside half of the track and he just couldn’t get a footing or accelerate and I don’t think racing off the fence suited him.
“We’ll just run some tests on him over the next few days and make sure that everything’s alright.
“If we’re very happy with them then at this stage we’d have to consider the same plan which is a race at Te Rapa in four-weeks and if we’re happy with how he runs there then he’d still be on his way to Flemington.
“This is not the grand final and we have bigger and better things ahead of him.”
The Levin Classic was taken out by Steven Cole-trained Dukedom, who is set to press on to the Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) after delivering his trainer a maiden Group 1 winner.
Xtravagant is likely to be joined in Australia by stablemate Risque, who has not been seen at the races since she took out the Group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) in November last year.
Xtravagant is currently available at 2016 Australian Guineas odds of $5 with Ladbrokes and he remains favourite from Kingston Town Stakes winner Perfect Reflection ($7), Caulfield Guineas winner Press Statement ($8), Darren Weir-trained Mahuta ($9) and talented filly Risque ($9).