Veteran 10-year-old Ihtsahymn entered the...
Avilius is the easing favourite to return to winning form for the first time this prep third-up in Saturday’s George Main Stakes 2019 field at Royal Randwick.
It is a star-studded edition of weight-for-age Group 1 $500,000 George Main Stakes (1600m) – registered as the Colgate Optic White Stakes – with 11 gallopers contesting the event.
For the first time in four years the George Main Stakes field is absent Chris Waller’s super mare and three-time winner Winx.
In her place at the top of the latest George Main Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au is the Godolphin-raced Avilius out from $2.80 to $3.10.
Drawn gate eight with Kerrin McEvoy to ride, the Pivotal six-year-old is two-from-two on Heavy tracks and should relish the current Heavy (9) course.
Winner of Melbourne’s Group 1 Ranvet Stakes – Tancred Stakes double on rain-affected going during the autumn, Avilius looks set to peak third-up getting his first wet track for the spring this weekend.
First-up in finished under a length back fourth in the Group 1 Winx Stakes (1400m) before a last start second in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) – both run on Good (4) going at Randwick.
Winner of those two lead-up races, the Bjorn Baker-trained Samadoubt is at $7 to continue the winning streak this weekend.
It looks a generous price in George Main Stakes betting for the flying Not A Single Doubt six-year-old whose Chelmsford Stakes win was by 3.3 lengths.
He overcame barrier 14 of 14 going forward last time out and will be on speed again from out in barrier 10 in the George Main Stakes.
Looking to win that early speed battle is fellow front-runner, the rails-drawn Dreamforce.
The John Thompson-trained Fastnet Rock seven-year-old was runner-up in the autumn’s Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) on Soft going before his brilliant first-up win on September 7.
Fresh the gelding defeated Epsom Handicap favourite Te Akau Shark by three lengths to take out the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) and he should relish the step-up in distance this weekend.
Dreamforce is the Randwick specialist in the mix boasting outstanding form at the track (9:5-1-0) and is currently the $4.50 second favourite to salute.
Other single-figure fancies in the Sydney Group 1 race are grand old campaigner Happy Clapper ($6) and the Chris Waller-trained Verry Elleegant ($6.50) drawn in barriers four and six respectively.
Happy Clapper has Glen Boss in the saddle as he looks to improve on a second to Winx in the race back in 2017.
The ever-consistent nine-year-old is a three-time Group 1 champion but hasn’t been first past the post since his 2018 Doncaster Mile success at the track and distance.
He is also a Winx Stakes graduate having finished second in the August 24 feature and has been kept fit with a subsequent Randwick trial over 1200m that he won on September 10 by 2.5 lengths.
Zed mare Verry Elleegant meanwhile is another proven mudlark with two wins from two goes on Heavy tracks, the four-year-old out to improve on her first-up ninth in the Winx Stakes.
She won the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) on a Heavy (9) at Rosehill back in March before her nearly two length win in the Group 1 ATC Oaks (2400m) and looks better-positioned on Saturday stepping up to a mile.
The 2019 George Main Stakes is set to run as Randwick Race 7 at 3:55pm (AEST) on Saturday, with betting on the race available by following the link to Ladbrokes.com.au.
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