The nicely-bred Heart Of Puissance is tipped as...
Godolphin great Avilius has shot to the top of 2019 Ladbrokes Cox Plate betting after an impressive victory in Saturday’s Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick.
Winner of the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes – Tancred Stakes double in Sydney over the autumn, the James Cummings-trained son of Pivotal was back in the winners’ stall third-up in the George Main Stakes 2019.
The six-year-old came off a Winx Stakes fourth and second in the Chelmsford Stakes, both lead-up Randwick races won by the Bjorn Baker-trained Samadoubt.
It was front-runner Samadoubt in the lead again chasing a rare weight-for-age three-peat in this year’s George Main Stakes, run for the first time in four years without super mare Winx.
Samadoubt and jockey Tim Clark had an easy time up front, while Kerrin McEvoy took the opposite approach on Avilius who went right back to last.
At the 800m McEvoy moved into a three-wide position on Avilius as Clark looked to settle the speed in the lead just ahead of the John Thompson-trained Doncaster Mile runner-up and last start Tramway Stakes winner Dreamforce.
With 250m left to travel Dreamforce moved up to take the lead, but all eyes were on Avilius coming with a late run down the outside.
Inside the 100m the Royal Blue of Godolphin hit the front and Avilius drew away for a big 2.3 length win as the $3.10 favourite.
“That was a ripping performance from the horse,” Cummings said after the win.
“I think very impressive. It is an interesting feeling when you feel you are only part way through the horse’s campaign.
“He was third up today and he had to be up to a certain level to put a horse like Dreamforce away.
“It was really good to see from our perspective a little bit of rain around this week.
“It was even better to see some pressure in the race and when Kerrin was able to sweep up into the race he was going to be the strong horse late.
“Very proud of him to put Dreamforce away with that turn of foot at weight-for-age level.”
Dreamforce ($4.20) finishing third, while grand old galloper Happy Clapper ($5) celebrated his 13th top three finish in Group 1 company rounding out the trifecta in third on the back of a Winx Stakes second.
“He went great, the winner was just another level, that’s one serious race horse,” Happy Clapper’s jockey Glen Boss said.
“My bloke to his credit, he never runs a bad race, so he’s still got a good one in him for sure.”
Avilius finished fourth in last year’s Cox Plate behind historical four-time champion Winx and has subsequently firmed into $7 to win the race this spring.
“We see him in good form now picking up a G1 along the way, it is great for the team and will be good to see him firing up in stronger races in winning form,” Cummings added.
“That was a Cox Plate effort today but his first runs this campaign demonstrated he was more a Caulfield Cup.
“We have some thinking to do. He’s airborne.
“We’ve been confident in the horse all the way along. We haven’t lost any confidence in him.
“A great ride from Kerrin to bring him into the race off that kind of pressure.
“It’s what we needed to see.”
The Group 1 $5 million Caulfield Cup (2400m) takes place in Melbourne on October 19 and Avilius is at $21 to win the mile and a half classic.
Mystic Journey remains the $5.50 Ladbrokes Cox Plate favourite despite Adam Trinder’s mare suffering a last start loss when runner-up to Gatting in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington.
2019 George Main Stakes Results & Finishing Order
|1||2||AVILIUS (GB)||James Cummings||Kerrin McEvoy||–||8||59kg||$3.10F|
|2||3||DREAMFORCE||John Thompson||Nash Rawiller||2.3L||1||59kg||$4.20|
|3||1||HAPPY CLAPPER||Patrick Webster||Glen Boss||3.6L||4||59kg||$5|
|4||11||VERRY ELLEEGANT (NZ)||Chris Waller||James McDonald||3.8L||6||56.5kg||$7|
|5||7||ANGEL OF TRUTH||Gwenda Markwell||Luke Currie||3.9L||3||58.5kg||$31|
|6||4||SAMADOUBT||Bjorn Baker||Tim Clark||4.1L||9||59kg||$8|
|7||6||MR MARATHON MAN (GB)||Michael Moroney||Mark Zahra||4.9L||7||59kg||$26|
|8||9||YOUNGSTAR||Chris Waller||Brenton Avdulla||5.6L||2||57kg||$31|
|9||8||DANZDANZDANCE||Chris Gibbs & Michelle Bradley||Tommy Berry||6.8L||5||57kg||$26|
|–||5||LIFE LESS ORDINARY (IRE)||Chris Waller||Jason Collett||–||0||–||–|
|–||10||CON TE PARTIRO (USA)||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Sam Clipperton||–||0||–||–|
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