Dual Group 1 winner Avilius can enchance his credentials for the 2019 Cox Plate when he kicks off his Spring Carnival campaign in the Group 1 $500,000 Winx Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Avilius is currently on the second line of betting at $6 with Ladbrokes.com.au for the Group 1 $5m Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley on October 26 but is the $3.40 favourite to make a winning return in the Winx Stakes.
Avilius found his Group 1 winning form during the 2019 Sydney Autumn Carnival with two wins at Rosehill in the $700,000 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) and in the $1.5m KIA Tancred Stakes (2400m).
The six year old gelding is yet to win over 1400m but has won first up in the past over 1600m on two occasions and trainer James Cummings is confident of a solid first up showing after winning a recent 1000m Rosehill barrier trial.
“His preliminaries have been just perfect. We saw a glimpse of how that’s been unfolding in his Rosehill trial,” Cummings said.
“By my estimation, and without getting too carried away, he should run a nice race.”
But the effort he put in last season will be hard to replicate. He’ll be matching it with better horses at every start, there’ll be nowhere to hide.”
“The pressure of a G1 return at 1,400m is a bit different. It’s one thing to expect him to run a nice race and sail home in a G3 like he’s done previously, but it’s another thing to saddle up in a G1.”
“It’s another dimension, it’s about how he copes. No doubt he’ll be dissected and closely analysed.”
Kerryn McEvoy was aboard Avilius for his win in the Ranvet Stakes and will be back on top again in the Winx Stakes and will settle the gelding in the middle of the pack from barrier eight in the ten horse Winx Stakes field.
On the second line of betting at $3.90 is the Australian Oaks winner Verry Elleegant (barrier 3) who is one of four runners from the Chris Waller stable.
Waller will also saddle up Unforgotten ($11), Kings Will Dream ($13) and Youngstar ($31).
Premiership winning jockey James McDonald was aboard Avilius for his Tancred Stakes win but has chosen to stick with Verry Elleegant in the Winx Stakes after partnering the filly to a hat trick of wins during the Autumn which included her victory in the Group 1 $1m Heineken 3 Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick on Day Two of The Championships on April 13.