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Trainer Stephen Autridge relieved as Xtravagant gets ready for Flemington
06 Sep 2016
Te Akau Racing colt Xtravagant will get his Australian campaign underway this weekend for trainers Stephen Autridge and ...
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Te Akau Racing colt Xtravagant will get his Australian campaign underway this weekend for trainers Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards.

Co-trainer Stephen Autridge has wiped the sweat from his brow and let out a sigh of relief as glamour colt Xtravagant gets back on an even keel.

A temperature spike saw the dual Group I winning 4-year-old scratched from last Saturday's McLeod Stakes at Moonee Valley, but he's recovered well and will resume at Flemington this weekend.

"He'll be in the Bobbie Lewis on Saturday if he works good enough tomorrow," Autridge said from Melbourne on Monday.

A satisfactory easy 1000m workout on Saturday morning with the horse's strapper and regular work rider Kerry Jones in the saddle, convinced Autridge that the campaign was all go.

"He went an easy 1000 on his own but tomorrow he'll do some serious work with a mate and Damien [Oliver] will ride him," Autridge said.

"He's looking the best he's ever looked - he's really matured and he'll enjoy a bit of warm weather this week."

The Pentire colt will run in the A$200,000 Group III Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) down the Flemington straight with Oliver to ride.

"It's good that Damien can stick with him and looking at the way they were racing at Moonee Valley it wasn't all bad that he wasn't there.

"Unless you were a swooper you were no hope, he should be better suited down the Flemington straight on Saturday."

 The stable gets the Melbourne campaign underway on Wednesday when Savabeel mare Shillelagh runs at Sandown Park.

Oliver will partner the 5-year-old against the Australian sprinters with the top jockey's blessing.

"I thought 1200 against the Aussies might be a bit slick," Autridge said. "But Damian rode her in jump-out and had no worries about her being competitive at the distance.

"We should see a very good run from her. She's been going really good after it took her a wee while to settle in over here."

Owned by Christopher and Susanna Grace and trained by Autridge and partner Jamie Richards, Shillelagh has won four of her six starts, three at 1200m.

She takes on the fillies and mares in a Benchmark 84 and will carry 59kg.

 Tim Ryan

 Stuff