Despite a disappointing effort in the Group 1 Railway Stakes at Ascot last weekend, classy Melbourne mare Avienus has been confirmed as a definite starter for Saturday week’s Kingston Town Classic 2011, her Cranbourne-based trainer Mark Webb hopeful she can return to form in her final Perth Summer Racing Carnival assignment.
Fresh off a Melbourne Spring Carnival campaign that included a second in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) to Descarado, a failed 13th to Pinker Pinker in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) and a fourth to Vintedge in the Group 2 Matriarch Stakes (2000m), Reset six-year-old Avienus travelled from Victoria to WA.
She travelled poorly, however, suffering from travel sickness having to be vetted upon landing.
Webb pressed onto the Railway Stakes over the mile with Avienus when she looked to have made a full recovery.
On the day, going back from 2000 metres to 1600 metres on the back of a long flight against horses more experienced at the track, Avienus could only manage to finish seven and a half lengths away 10th to Luckygray who won the $1 million showdown on protest.
She put in a brave showing early racing forward to set the pace but just couldn’t hang on fading badly in the final stages, which Webb said went against the back-running tactics he had discussed with ace hoop Craig Williams.
2011 Kingston Town Classic Odds
“The fence was off and in her recent runs her best efforts have been when she has come from off the speed so that’s what we wanted to do,” Webb said.
“Craig said after the race that when she jumped so well, he didn’t want to snag her back.
“Craig’s a wonderful rider, but that wasn’t what we had planned.”
Having come through the run well Avienus will now remain in Perth for the $500,000 Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) back at Ascot Racecourse on Saturday December 3, which is getting back up to her more preferred distance.
“We’ll put it (the Railway Stakes) behind us and move on to the Kingston Town,” Webb said.
“She’s pulled up super.”
Webb has named Avienus’ regular jockey Brad Rawiller, who missed the Railway ride due to her light weight allocation, as the replacement rider for the Kingston Town Classic, Williams having travelled to Japan for a six-week stint.
Rawiller will be vying for his third Kingston Town Classic success having previously won the feature with Niconero in 2006 and 2008.
“Brad was always booked to ride her in the Kingston Town and all things going well, he’ll be on,” Webb said.
In the latest 2011 Kingston Town Classic odds at Luxbet following last weekend’s Ascot race results, Avienus is rated a $31 chance.
Markets are led by Railway Stakes winner Luckygray at a quote of $3.20.
They are followed by Grant Williams’ beaten Railway Stakes favourite Ranger ($4.40), impressive WA Guineas winner King Saul ($5), official Railway Stakes runner-up He’s Remarkable ($9), the Mark Reed-trained Kalgoorlie Cup winner Kincaple ($9), reigning Kingston Town Classic champion Playing God ($12) and Williams’ consistent Redoute’s Choice mare Tranquility ($17).
Cambridge-based trainer Roger James, however, has confirmed plans to withdraw He’s Remarkable from the race and head back home after the bitter disappointment of being regulated to second in the Railway due to protest.
After a spell He’s Remarkable will begin preparing for a return to Australia for the $2 million Group 1 Doncaster Handicap (1600m) at Randwick on March 21, 2012 as part of the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival action.
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