The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
The Godolphin-raced Avilius has been scratched from today’s Group 1 $500,000 Winx Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick where the Kiwi galloper The Bostonian is the firming favourite to win.
Kicking off Group 1 racing for the new season in Sydney this afternoon, the 2020 Winx Stakes field now features the two emergency runners with Wolfe (9) and Zebrowski (7) coming in for withdrawn runners Funstar and Avilius.
Chris Waller’s Flight Stakes winner Funstar was scratched earlier in the week in favour of an easier first-up assignment in the Group 3 Show County Quality (1200m), while Avilius will be saved for the Group $250,000 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) in two weeks.
The James Cummings-trained Avilius was the beaten favourite in last year’s Winx Stakes when running fourth, under a length off the winner Samadoubt.
He then went into the 2019 Chelmsford Stakes as the odds-on favourite only to go down again, beaten by the same galloper as Samadoubt won by over three lengths.
Avilius atoned in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) third-up winning the mile feature at Randwick over Dreamforce (2nd) and Happy Clapper (3rd), and a title defence in that $500,000 event on September 19 could be on the cards for the now seven-year-old son of Pivot.
The money is coming for The Bostonian meanwhile in Winx Stakes betting at Ladbrokes.com.au, Tony Pike’s first-up specialist backed right into $5.50 clear favouritism to salute fresh from the inside alley.
The three-time Group 1 winning Jimmy Choux six-year-old has had one previous Randwick start when winning the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) in the autumn and was last seen running second to Dreamforce in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on March 21.
Also resuming in the Winx Stakes, the John Thompson-trained veteran Dreamforce has the wide alley (16) to overcome but is being kept safe in betting at $8.50.
Caulfield Cup-bound Master Of Wine is the $6.50 second elect for Hawkes Racing, while Waller will attempt a record sixth success in the event formerly run as the Group 2 Warwick Stakes with four runners.
Of the Waller quartet the best in betting is class mare Verry Elleegant ($7) having run first or second in her last four starts including winning the Group 1 Tancred Stakes (2400m).
“She’s come back really well. I think her chances will be boosted by the fact it’ll be a Soft to Heavy track. It’s been a fine couple of days in Sydney, but we’re slowly getting back to where we need to,” Waller told RSN 927 on Friday.
“It’s been a wet period for six months – the ground’s waterlogged, it’s taking an age to dry out. It’ll be in her favour tomorrow.
“She was only fair first-up last prep, but second-up she was beaten a nostril in a Group 1 mile. I think she’s close to that form, and she’s in for a good prep.”
Randwick is currently rated a Soft (7).
Ten-time Group 1 winning Kiwi mare Melody Belle is the other runner of note at current Winx Stakes odds of $10 to bounce back from her disappointing first-up sixth when failing to beat home any of her rivals in the Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m) on August 8.
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