Damien Oliver has partnered Xtravagant in a work-out at Flemington ahead of the star New Zealander’s Cox Plate campaign.
Named last season’s champion three-year-old in New Zealand, Xtravagant is based at the Flemington stables of Steve Richards for the spring.
It is the second trip to Melbourne for Xtravagant who finished eighth in the Australian Guineas at Flemington in March before returning home to win the Breeders Stakes at Te Rapa at the end of April.
Co-trainer Stephen Autridge said Xtravagant had settled in much better this time around.
“We’re here a lot earlier than we were last time,” Autridge told Melbourne radio station RSN927.
Oliver will again be aboard Xtravagant in an 800m jump-out on Friday.
Autridge said Xtravagant would begin his campaign in the Chandler McLeod Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on September 3 before going to the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes and Toorak Handicap at Caulfield.
“After that we’ll make the call on whether he goes on to the Cox Plate,” Autridge said.
Oliver replaces Matthew Cameron on Xtravagant for the spring after Cameron was aboard for nine of his 10 previous outings.
Autridge said the team was working to get Xtravagant to settle and the trainer reported he was in a good frame of mind for Oliver on Tuesday.
“At this stage we’re going to give him every opportunity of getting over more ground so we wouldn’t be looking at leading at Moonee Valley,” Autridge said.
“The Aussie horses go pretty quick, especially at Moonee Valley, so it would be quite easy to tuck him in behind a couple.
“We’re not saying ride him back but teach him to take a nice trail.”
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au