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Despite a last start failure in the Melbourne Cup the Godolphin-raced Avilius is firming favourite to return to winning form in the Zipping Classic 2020 at Ladbrokes Park Hillside on Saturday.
The Sandown race card has drawn small fields for the majority of the majors this weekend including a small nine-horse line-up in the meeting’s feature – the Group 2 $250,000 Zipping Classic (2400m).
Donning the number one saddlecloth in the weight-for-age clash is the James Cummings-trained Pivotal seven-year-old Avilius, the $3.4 million earner having his first run at the track.
It has been a while between drinks for the multiple Group 1 winning gelding whose last turf triumph was back in September last year when he stormed home to win the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) by over two lengths.
Avilius was last seen racing as a 60/1 outsider in the ‘race that stops a nation’ and only managed to beat home one rival when 22nd in the Melbourne Cup over the two miles at Flemington on November 3.
That heavy loss hasn’t stopped the Royal Blue brigade from pressing on with one more run this time in and the punters are tipping the drop-in grade and distance to get Avilius first past the post.
The latest Zipping Classic odds online at Ladbrokes.com.au are into $3.80 for Avilius to win from gate five with Damien Oliver in the saddle, a notable move on the favourite’s opening quote of $4.50.
Oliver won the race, then the Sandown Classic, aboard Sky Heights back in 2001 and will be keen to get Avilius first past the post for the punters and secure another win in the popular late-spring showdown.
It is a wide-open edition of the Zipping Classic this season and a really tough race for the punters with five of the remaining eight runners also under $10 for the win including the $4.40 second elect Sound.
Jumping from the outside alley with the flying Jamie Kah in the saddle, the Michael Moroney-trained Lando eight-year-old has been consistent without winning over his spring prep.
Last start the evergreen entire was narrowly beaten finishing a luckless second just a nose off Ashrun in the Group 3 Lexus Hotham Handicap (2500m) missing his shot at Melbourne Cup success.
Sound carted 59.5kg that run and looks well-positioned in Saturday’s race at WFA.
Hot on his heels occupying the third line of Zipping Classic betting is the Matthew Cumani-trained Future Score to be ridden by Fred Kersley fourth-up.
Presenting rock-hard fit and in good form, the Irish-bred son of Cape Cross won the Listed Cranbourne Cup (2025m) two back before his Lexus Stakes third.
Another plus for Future Score is his previous winning form at the track from June last year and the 2400m looks ideal for him here.
Lord Belvedere ($6.50) for this season’s Cox Plate winning trainers Ciaron Maher & David Eustace, the Chris Waller-trained perennial placegetter Brimham Rocks ($7.50) and last start Bendigo Cup winning mare Princess Jenni ($9.50) round out the single-figure fancies.
2020 Zipping Classic Field & Barriers
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||4533×46260||AVILIUS (GB)||James Cummings||Damien Oliver||5||59kg||110|
|2||x8x58x0360||LEVENDI||Peter Gelagotis||Jason Maskiell||3||59kg||104|
|3||7691×83823||BRIMHAM ROCKS (GB)||Chris Waller||Damian Lane||7||59kg||103|
|4||x532x52262||SOUND (GER)||Michael Moroney||Jamie Kah||9||59kg||102|
|5||1x1253x613||FUTURE SCORE (IRE)||Matt Cumani||Fred W Kersley||6||59kg||99|
|6||41x7811x18||LORD BELVEDERE (GB)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Ben Melham||2||59kg||101|
|7||x6804x2414||ATTORNEY (FR)||Matthew Smith||Luke Currie||8||59kg||97|
|8||x356x80571||PRINCESS JENNI (NZ)||David Brideoake||Jye McNeil||1||57kg||105|
|9||0064×48446||SCARLET DREAM||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Michael Poy||4||57kg||88|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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