Trip delay for Australian Guineas favourite

Star New Zealand colt Xtravagant will fly to Australia a day later than planned with the cancellation of his original flight throwing a scare into the camp.

The favourite for the Australian Guineas, Xtravagant was supposed to arrive in Melbourne on Wednesday.

Some behind the scenes work has resulted in the re-routing of a flight taking horses from New Zealand to Singapore to include a stop in Melbourne.

Co-trainer Stephen Autridge, who is already in Melbourne awaiting the arrival of the three-year-old, said it was not ideal to have his departure delayed so close to the race, but said the colt was a relaxed customer.

“He’s a very good traveller so I think tomorrow morning won’t be too much of a problem,” Autridge said.

“But it is leaving it a day later than you want it to be.

“I would have preferred him to be here and settled in overnight and work from there.”

Autridge said if there were any further travel complications which forced Xtravagant to miss Saturday’s race, it would also rule him out of the Australian Cup a week later.

The colt’s owners, Te Akau Racing, have also entered him in the Doncaster Mile on April 2 in Sydney.

“David Ellis, his manager, will be looking at all the options,” Autridge said.

After winning at Ellerslie in December, Xtravagant suffered a shock defeat at Trentham on January 16 on soft ground before returning to form with a stunning eight length win over older horses in the Group One Waikato Sprint at Te Rapa on February 13.


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