Kiwi galloper Xtravagant has shown world-class potential in a couple of races to date, and if he brings that form to Flemington on Saturday, he'll take out the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m).
We can only go on what we’ve seen to date, and the Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards-trained Xtravagant is an exceptionally gifted racehorse.
He did miss his flight to Australia on Wednesday and will now fly out a day later, which is hardly ideal, but he’ll still have plenty of time to settle in from the relatively short flight and show his best on race day.
The son of Pentire has shown a dislike for rain-affected ground and will appreciate the firm footing at Flemington on Saturday.
His win in the NZ 2000 Guineas (1600m) was simply breathtaking, and those that saw his 8-length demolition of a handy field just had to be impressed.
In lining up that form with Australian form, we have two good references – both recent and past.
For one, he smashed the race record with a time of (1:33.59) and previous winners such as Turn Me Loose (1:35.00), Atlante (1:36.47), Sacred Falls (1:34.95) and Jimmy Choux (1:39.46) have all performed well in Australia.
Turn Me Loose and Sacred Falls in particular are multiple Group 1 winners in Australia and there times on a Good track were 10 lengths slower than Xtravagant.
Considering he won by 8 lengths and you have to make some adjustment for track condition and race tempo, Xtravagant still rates much higher than that pair.
Although he was beaten on Soft ground in the Levin Classic (1600m) to starts back, he did bounce back at his most recent start to record an 8-length thrashing of Group 1 winner Vespa over 1400m.
Another angle to rate his form comes in the way of the now David Hayes and Tom Dabernig-trained Risque.
She won the fillies’ version of the Guineas, the NZ Bloodstock 1000 Guineas (1600m), on the same day as Xtravagant and ran a time of 1:35.96.
Xtravagant’s time rates more than 15 lengths superior and Risque has shown she is up to competing at the highest level in Australia by taking out the Group 3 Kevin Hayes Stakes (1200m) when first-up from a spell over an unsuitable distance.
Xtravagant really is one out of the box, and like I said previously, if he brings his A-game, he’ll win with a leg in the air.
So with that in mind, I'm going to be bold and use Ladbrokes' increase your winning margin feature to boost some odds significantly.
80% stake at standard odds of $3.50 and then 20% stake with a 2-length+ winning margin at $12.
If he shirks the task for some reason, Mahuta and Tarzino look hard to beat.