Millennium magic for emerging sire Xtravagant

By Richard Edmunds

9 Feb 2022

Millennium magic for emerging sire XtravagantXtravagant Star does her sire proud in the Inglis Millennium at Randwick last Saturday.

“Mark Pilkington has been one of Xtravagant’s biggest supporters in Australia.”
Outside of Marauding’s son Prowl in the 1998 Golden Slipper and Starcraft’s Star Witness in the 2010 Blue Diamond, New Zealand-bred sires have struggled over the last 25 years to imprint themselves on Australia’s richest two-year-old races – but the A$2 million Inglis Millennium in Sydney is changing that.
Established in 2019, the Inglis Millennium has been run only four times but has already shone a spotlight on two Group One-winning Kiwis making their name among the competitive Australian stallion ranks.
The inaugural winner in 2019 was high-class colt Castelvecchio, from the second crop of Arrowfield Stud’s Dundeel – a six-time Group One winner and 2014 New Zealand Horse of the Year from the Murray Baker stable.
The son of High Chaparral now commands a service fee of A$66,000, with more than a dozen black-type winners to his credit including Group One stars Castelvecchio, Super Seth, Yourdeel, Truly Great and Atyaab.
The 2022 Inglis Millennium was run at Randwick last Saturday, where the undefeated and impressive Xtravagant Star became the first filly to win the lucrative sales-restricted race.
Trained by Tony and Calvin McEvoy for breeders and part-owners Seymour Bloodstock, Xtravagant Star now boasts a perfect two-from-two record with the promise of much more to come. She is out of a granddaughter of a former star New Zealand two-year-old of the 1990s, Ballroom Babe.
Xtravagant Star comes from the second crop of Xtravagant, who was a jaw-dropping eight-length winner of the Gr. 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas and NRM Sprint (now BCD Group Sprint) for Te Akau Racing in the 2015-16 season.
The very first Group One winner in the all-conquering training career of Jamie Richards, Xtravagant retired to Newhaven Park in Boorowa, New South Wales, where his 2021 service fee was A$11,000.
Xtravagant is by Pentire out of the unraced Zabeel mare Axiom, making him a full-brother to the Group One performer and sire He’s Remarkable. Bought by David Ellis for $375,000 from the 2014 Premier Sale at Karaka, Xtravagant won six of his 12 starts and more than $480,000 in stakes.
But it is at stud in Australia where he is now making his mark, already siring 17 winners from 45 runners out of his first two crops. Xtravagant Star and her older full-brother He’s Xceptional have both been black-type winners, while Devoted and Lavish Girl have been stakes-placed.
Polly Plum, fittingly in the tangerine colours of Te Akau, recently became Xtravagant’s first New Zealand winner with a three-length maiden romp at Te Rapa.
“It was an incredible thrill to watch a daughter of Xtravagant win such a major two-year-old race in Sydney last weekend, and she now looks like a serious chance in the Golden Slipper,” Ellis told RaceForm.
“He’s a horse I’ll never forget. When I was at Rich Hill Stud looking at yearlings last Thursday, Joe Walls and I talked about the first time we saw Xtravagant – when we looked at each other and said, ‘Wow, what a horse!’
“He was a fantastic racehorse for us, and I tried to find a New Zealand stud to stand him, but in the end it was Newhaven Park who put their hand up. I’ve been to see him there, and it’s a magnificent property of more than 10,000 acres. It’s a great stud and it’s giving him every chance.
“Mark Pilkington has been one of Xtravagant’s biggest supporters in Australia, so it was particularly special that the Inglis Millennium-winning filly races in the colours of Seymour Bloodstock. The result couldn’t have been any better.
“Xtravagant is siring winners every week at the moment, and the Inglis Millennium showed that he can sire early two-year-old types as well as good three-year-olds. That’s despite the fact that he himself raced only once as a two-year-old – winning by seven lengths at Hastings in April 2015 with Mark Sweeney aboard.”
Newhaven Park’s Kiwi connection is not limited to Xtravagant. The stud is also home to another former Te Akau star in Cool Aza Beel, who stood his first season last spring at a service fee of A$16,500. The son of Savabeel raced only as a two-year-old, winning four of his six starts including the Gr. 1 Sistema Stakes and the Karaka Million.
“Cool Aza Beel will have every opportunity at Newhaven, while another of our horses, Heroic Valour, has also made an outstanding start in Queensland – he’s already had four city winners there from his first crop,” Ellis said.
“Burgundy and Darci Brahma are obvious standouts here in New Zealand, and our stable has Burgundy fillies who are leading chances on Saturday for both the 2YO Classic and Fillies’ Classic at Te Rapa,” added Ellis in reference to Maven Belle and Belle En Rouge.