Avienus Back on Track for 2011 Railway Stakes

Visiting Melbourne-based mare Avienus has shown her trainer Mark Webb she has fully recovered from a bout of travel sickness and is ready to strut her stuff in the 2011 Railway Stakes at Ascot this Saturday.


Avienus is out to break a 15-race losing streak in the 2011 Railway Stakes on Saturday

Reset six-year-old Avienus arrived in Perth last week but had to spend her first few days in WA residing at a veterinary clinic after she travelled poorly via air.

“She got a bit crook on the plane coming over but that was more due to circumstances of being delayed on the tarmac at Tullamarine for three hours,” Webb explained.

“She has bounced back from that and things are pretty good.”

Recovering soon after Avienus had her first serious bit of work at Ascot Racecourse on Tuesday, the gallop pleasing Webb who said it was now full steam ahead for the $1 million Group 1 Carlton Draught Railway Stakes (1600m) on Saturday.

“It wasn’t hammer and tongs but it was nice work,” Webb said.

“She went 1200 metres in evens and a working gallop the last 600 metres.

“That will probably do her now as her fitness levels are pretty good coming off her recent runs in Melbourne.”

Avienus was one of a capacity number of Railway Stakes 2011 acceptors this year, the lucrative mile feature attracting 16 starters plus two emergencies.

Earlier in the week Webb expressed how important the Railway Stakes barrier draw was for his hopeful and Avienus fared well drawing barrier 10.

She will move into gate eight on Saturday should emergencies Our Ol’ Fella (barrier 7) and Ringmeister (barrier 5) fail to gain a start.

“The two emergencies are inside her and if they don’t run she will come into eight which is probably ideal,” Webb said.

Last seen running a credible fourth to Vintedge in the Group 2 Matriarch Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on November 5, how Avienus handles the drop back to 1600 metres for the Railway is crucial.

To date she has three runs over the mile for one win.

Despite a number of promising runs in Melbourne during the spring including her second to Descarado in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) on October 8, it has been a long time between drinks for Avienus.

Her last time in the winner’s stall was back in September of last year when she won the Group 2 Stocks Stakes over the Moonee Valley mile by three lengths.

Hopeful of breaking her bad luck spell, Webb has engaged the services of in-form hoop Craig Williams for the Railway who will ride her on the 53kg minimum, a nice 3.5kg drop back from the weight she had last-start in the Matriarch.

“She has been running well without winning and is very nicely placed with that weight,” Webb said.

Williams has ridden Avienus for six of her 33 career starts to date, including her last win, and reunites with the mare for the first time since their fifth in the Group 2 Sunline Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley back on March 25 of this year.

“It is a big key having Craig on her,” Webb said.

“It certainly gives you some confidence.

“He has ridden her several times and won on her so he knows her pretty well.”

Railway Stakes odds at Luxbet have the Grant Williams-trained Ranger, seeking his fourth win on the trot, as the clear $3.50 favourite followed by last-start Asian Beau Stakes champion Luckygray ($5.50), the Neville Parnham-trained Playing God ($6.50) and Roger James’ New Zealand raider He’s Remarkable ($8).

Occupying the fifth line of Railway Stakes betting is then Avienus at a quote of $10.

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