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Xtravagant out of Telegraph
18 Jan 2017

Saturday’s JR & N Berkett Telegraph has been thrown wide open with the withdrawal this morning of long-time favourite Xtravagant.

The four-year-old’s managing owner David Ellis made the shock announcement to www.theinformant.co.nz after witnessing his main gallop at Matamata, followed by discussions with trainers Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards and stable jockey Opie Bosson.

Xtravagant was partnered by his one-win stablemate Gingernuts over 1000 metres on the plough in 1:02.2 and 35.2. While the time was respectable it wasn’t outstanding, and nor were Bosson’s comments when he came off the track.

With a waver of his hand, Bosson suggested the work was “at best fair”, prompting connections to consider the situation and make the ultimate call.

“He worked okay only, not good enough to take him down to Wellington,” Ellis said afterwards. “It’s a big call but one that we all agree on.

“We will review his future in the days ahead.”

Xtravagant’s Telegraph defection continues a frustrating season for last year’s champion three-year-old. With form headed by the Gr. 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas and NRM Sprint, big things were expected of him in Melbourne in the spring but he failed in two starts.

Brought home and freshened up with the Telegraph his designated first-up target, he resumed with an easy trial win followed by a smart gallop at Ellerslie late last month. His second in a trial at Cambridge last week was acceptable given he went down by only a head to Turn Me Loose, but the evidence of this morning’s work was a turning point.

After suspending betting immediately following Xtravagant’s withdrawal, the TAB has released an updated Telegraph market headed by Railway winner Start Wondering at $4, followed by Perfect Fit at $5, First Serve $6 and Odyssey Moon $7.

Dennis Ryan

The Informant