European import Avilius will gain a spot in the 2018 Melbourne Cup with a win in the Group 3 $300,000 The Bart Cummings (2500m) at Flemington on Saturday.
The winner of The Bart Cummings is exempt from the ballot for the Group 1 $7.3m Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 6 and trainer James Cummings has Avilius in top order to keep his unbeaten record on Australian soil intact.
“Avilius has enjoyed a good three weeks since his last run in the Kingston Town Stakes and is primed for this race,” Cummings said.
“He still seems full of energy the deeper he’s got into his preparation.”
“This is his toughest challenge in Australia, he has 58.5kg and is coming up against better horses all the time.”
“He is a really happy horse progressing through the grades.”
“We are stepping up to a mile and a half at Flemington, this will be a high pressure race, and there is a lot on the line for all of these horses. A few of them are on the back up and they are going to be tough to beat.”
“He has had his enjoyable three weeks in between runs, he is looking good on the track, letting down really nicely this morning in a gallop.”
“He is really really fit now fourth up stepping up to a mile and a half which is perfect for him.”
“But the best form for a mile and a half race is mile and a half form and he is going to have to be tough enough to take that step up and meet the challenge.”
Avilius has drawn the rails in The Bart Cummings and is currently the $2.15 favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au while in the Melbourne Cup he is on the third line of betting at $15.
Avilius carried the Goldolphin royal blue colours to two victories in France before finding a new home under the care of Cummings in Sydney and is unbeaten from three races in Australian.
The Pivotal five year old score a first up win in a 1600m BenchMark 91 Handicap at Randwick on August 4 before winning the Group 3 $150,000 Premier’s Cup (1900m) at Rosehill three weeks later and then went to claim a hat trick of wins with a come from behind performance in taking out the Group 3 $160,000 The Agency Real Estate Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on September 15.
Glyn Schofield has been aboard Avilius for his three wins in Sydney and will be on again in The Bart Cummings at Flemington.