New Zealand trainer Stephen Autridge was pacing around like an expectant father as he waited for Australian Guineas favourite Xtravagant to arrive at Flemington.
The $3.50 favourite for Saturday’s Group One race at Flemington had his flight from New Zealand cancelled on Wednesday while a Thursday morning flight was delayed more than three hours.
He eventually touched down at Melbourne airport at 2.30pm (AEDT), getting to the Flemington stables of Leon and Troy Corstens 90 minutes later.
Wearing a compression suit, similar to the one Black Caviar had on her trip to Royal Ascot in 2012, Xtravagant took the flight in his stride.
“I don’t think the trip has hurt him too much and he’s still got plenty of energy left,” Autridge said.
“If he has a quiet night tonight, we’ll be happy tomorrow.”
Autridge plans on giving Xtravagant a trot and a canter and a swim at Flemington on Friday morning to stretch his legs.
Xtravagant will be aiming to break the winless record of New Zealand three-year-olds in the 30-year history of the Australian Guineas.
He enters the Guineas on the strength of a last-start eight-length victory against Group One company over 1400m at Te Rapa on February 13.
He won the 2000 Guineas over 1600m at Riccarton last November but flopped over that trip when fourth in the Levin Classic at Trentham in January.
A fast beginner, Autridge said Xtravagant, who normally leads, is ideally drawn in barrier three and can take a sit if Mahuta wants to lead.
The delay with Xtravagant’s arrival hasn’t fazed punters who have supported the colt from $3.80 into $3.50 since Wednesday’s barrier draw and Autridge won’t be drawn on a danger.
“It’s one of the best fields ever, so I respect the lot. It’s going to be a great race,” he said.
Victoria Derby winner Tarzino, one of three runners from the Mick Price yard, has firmed from $9 to $7 while Darren Weir’s trio of Mahuta, Palentino and Perfect Reflection have all been easy.
The Mike Moroney-trained Tulsa is booked to head to Sydney on Thursday night to run in the Randwick Guineas on Saturday leaving the stable to rely on Tivaci, a last-start protest winner of the CS Hayes Stakes.