Godolphin’s European import Avilius repaid his followers after a last start flop to score a dominant win in the Group 1 $700,000 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill today.
Avilius was sent out as the $1.65 favourite for the Group 1 $1.5m Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 9 but faded into fifth position after looming as the winner half way down the straight.
Today winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy settled Avilius ($4.40 favourite) midfield before easing him into the clear at the top of the straight to set sail after the leader He’s Eminent ($19).
James McDonald was able to get He’s Eminent to find something extra at the 200m but Avilius showed his class but running over the top of the English raider in the run to the line to record a two and a quarter lengths victory.
Kiwi trained galloper Danzdanzdance ($5) was doing his best work at the finish and ran home for third.
Trainer James Cummings was very pleased to see Avilius bounce back to the winner’s stall to claim his first Group 1 victory and will decide early next week if the five year old backs up into the Group 1 $1.5m KIA Tancred Stakes (2400m) at Rosehill and possibly later on in the Group 1 $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on Day Toe of The Championships on April 13.
“He’s a super horse and that was a demonstration of the supreme turn of foot that he can exhibit. Kerrin wasn’t here to ride the track, he was here to ride the horse and I think that was the key to getting the horse over the line,” Cummings said.
He had a bit to turn around from his performance in the Australian Cup and we knew it but he’s had a fantastic fortnight and I’m just proud of the team.
“I’m just so impressed by the horse to come from such a difficult position to claim them and win with authority.
“That’s the sort of weight for age promise that he demonstrated when he hit the racetrack in Australia last year. He’s got up and won us a Group 1 so we’re thrilled for the horse.”
“I don’t want to make any decisions on race day, it will be up to the way Avilius pulls up. We hold a nomination for the Tancred next week but it’s very much a team effort to get him here and he’s done a wonderful job to improve many many lengths since getting back from Melbourne.”