Xtravagant Star wins $2m Inglis Millennium

The Blue Diamond Stakes or the Golden Slipper?

That is the choice facing trainers Tony and Calvin McEvoy and the owners of Xtravagant Star after her thrilling win in Saturday’s $2 million Inglis Millennium (1100m) at Randwick.

Xtravagant Star ($7) was dominant in what was arguably the strongest renewal of the Listed race, unleashing a winning turn of foot halfway up the straight to defeat Paris Dior ($3.30 fav) by 1-1/2 lengths with the previously unbeaten Sejardan ($6) another short head away third.

Tony McEvoy said they would enjoy the victory before deciding their next move but would head to either Melbourne’s premier juvenile race or Sydney’s.

Her owners will have the final vote but McEvoy does have unfinished business in the Slipper after finishing second and third with Oohood and Sunlight in the 2018 edition won by Estijaab.

“Today was about, ‘are we good enough?’ And now we can think about what to do,” McEvoy said.

“But I don’t think we’ll be greedy. I think we’ll target one or the other.

“I have run second and third in a Slipper, I want to win one. I’d love to come back for that race and it is the big race, isn’t it?”

McEvoy paid $150,000 for Xtravagant Star at the Melbourne Premier Sale and expected her to hit her straps as a three-year-old, as most of Xtravagant’s progeny improve with age.

But the filly kept putting her hand up, winning her debut at Geelong to earn her passage to Sydney where she went to another level.

“She is out of a Sebring mare and her grand dam (Ballroom Babe) was a champion two-year-old, but I never had an intention of making her a two-year-old to be honest,” McEvoy said.

“She just wanted to be at the front of the bus. Everything we did, every preparation, she wanted to lead the pack, so we thought we’d just go with her.

“It’s her first trip away from home and the way she has handled herself and accepted everything, magnificent. It’s a big thrill.”

Xtravagant Star’s win was also a boost for Chad Schofield, who is re-establishing his career in Sydney after spending the best part of a decade interstate and overseas.

While he captured the Listed Gosford Guineas on Bacchanalia in December, the Inglis Millennium is his richest victory since his return and a timely reminder of his talent.

“I left Sydney when I was 17 and I went to Melbourne and then Hong Kong, so it has been nearly 10 years since I have ridden here,” Schofield said.

“We started from the bottom but hopefully we can get going again.

“She came down in such great order. She was a two-year-old who had only had one start but she’s so mentally mature and bomb-proof and she knows her job. She is a little racehorse.”

Schofield said he had best friend Calvin McEvoy to thank for the ride.

“He has been one of my best mates for a long time and was one of my groomsman at my wedding, so thanks to Calvin,” he said.

Paul Snowden said the barrier beat Paris Dior but he was pleased with her effort, while Gary Portelli was likewise satisfied with the performance of Sejardan, who was caught wide from an awkward gate.

“I liked the way he races, seeing him keep grinding through the line,” Portelli said.

“The 2022 Golden Slipper is going to be great. We will have a real crack at it.

“But when he gets to the Sires’ at seven furlongs (1400m), he will really come to the fore.”


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