The weekend’s feature race favourite Big Duke...
The Godolphin colours proved too strong at Rosehill on Saturday as the James Cummings trained Avilius raced away with the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m).
The British raider claimed his third win from four starts this prep, improving on a disappointing fifth-place finish in last fortnight’s Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington.
Avilius enjoyed a gun ride from Kerrin McEvoy on the wet track. Sitting fourth-last one-off the fence, luck hardly went McEvoy’s way in the early stages of the race, but the outside position favoured Avilius’ dazzling turn of foot as the pair won comfortably by two and a half lengths.
Having ridden The Autumn Sun to victory in the Rosehill Guineas two races prior, the win marked McEvoy’s second Group 1 victory of the day. Avilius, meanwhile, remains unbeaten in Sydney since arriving in Australia two year’s ago, with Cummings paying full respect to the horses sizzling speed.
“He’s a super horse and that was a demonstration of the supreme turn of foot that he can exhibit. Kerrin was on the right track and on the right horse, and I think that was the key to getting him over the line” Cummings said.
While Saturday’s win turned out easy in the end, second place-getter He’s Eminent certainly made things interesting leading from the barriers. Sir Mark Todd’s Irish import fought on well when asked to quicken down the straight, and now looks a strong chance to run against Winx in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick next month.
As for Avilius, a spell could be next, although Cummings didn’t shy away from the idea of backing up in next week’s Group 1 Tancred Stakes (2400m).
“I don’t want to make decisions on race day, it’ll be up to the way Avilius pulls up, there’s a possibility that if we hold a nomination we’ll take him to the Tancred next week,” Cummings said.
Avilius remains the $3.00 pre-nomination favourite.
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