The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Godolphin’s three-time Group 1 champion Avilius is at firming odds to break a notable winning drought as the favourite in Saturday’s 2021 A.D. Hollindale Stakes field at the Gold Coast.
The seven-year-old son of Pivotal has not won a race since the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) at Randwick way back in September of 2019.
Despite it being nearly two years since that turf triumph, the punters are coming for the galloper to return to winning form in Queensland in his first look at the Gold Coast track in the Group 2 $500,000 A.D. Hollindale Stakes (1800m) this weekend.
A key early feature leading up to the elite level races of the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival, the A.D. Hollindale Stakes field features a capacity line-up of stars.
Avilius is drawn barrier nine with Nash Rawiller to ride and sits top of the current A.D. Hollindale Stakes odds at $4.80 through Ladbrokes.com.au.
This is a notable drop in grade for the $3.6 million earner who comes off a string of solid Group 1 performances in Sydney over the autumn.
He was third in both the Chipping Norton and George Ryder Stakes under a half-length beaten in each before a last start third in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) on April 10.
It shapes-up as a wide-open edition of the traditional Doomben Cup lead-up with a further five runners under $10 for the win including the $6.50 danger Zaaki.
Drawn wide out in gate 14, the Annable Neasham-trained import has just his third Australian start on the weekend and looks on the improve.
In his down under debut, the British-bred six-year-old was far from disgraced when only three lengths back sixth in the Doncaster Mile at 70/1.
Next-up in easier grade over further he was narrowly beaten when runner-up in Randwick’s Group 3 JRA Plate (2000m) on April 24 and he looks well-positioned at WFA over 1800m third-up and fitter for the run.
Close third elect at $7 to shrug off her Australian hoodoo is Jamie Richards’ brilliant Kiwi-trained mare Melody Belle.
She’s got a tough assignment from the outside alley on the weekend, the six-year-old daughter of Commands looking to improve on her sixth to Sir Dragonet at Rosehill in the Group 1 Tancred Stakes (2400m).
Prior to that she posted her incredible 14th Group 1 victory back home in the Boncrusher Stakes at Ellerslie over 2000m, only one of her previous elite level wins being in Australia (2019, Empire Rose Stakes).
The other best in betting include Lindsay Park’s Fifty Stars ($8), market mover Homesman ($8.50) last seen winning the Group 1 Australian Cup at Flemington and last start Neville Sellwood Stakes winner Shared Ambition for last year’s winning trainer Chris Waller who is after his fourth win in the event.
Of the value runners in the line-up, the locally-trained Vanna Girl presents as a forgotten roughie hope at $19 for Toby & Trent Edmonds.
She has an excellent home track record of two wins and a second from three runs and recently carried 59kg to victory at Doomben over 1350m.
Last time out the four-year-old daughter of Husson finished a credible mid-field seventh in the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) and drops in grade off that Sydney lead-up.
“I’ve got no doubt she will run really well, we are going to ride her a little bit steadier as well which suits her best,” co-trainer Trent Edmonds told Racenet this week.
“Every time we rush her up on speed she doesn’t finish off as good, it just takes that sprint away from her.
“We made that mistake the other day in the Group 1, from barrier one we tried to be positive and be just behind them but that dulled her finish.”
2021 A.D. Hollindale Stakes Field & Barriers
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Probable Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||8352×72087||FIFTY STARS (IRE)||Tom Dabernig & Ben Hayes||William Pike||12||59kg||111|
|2||462605×335||AVILIUS (GB)||James Cummings||Nash Rawiller||9||59kg||111|
|3||70x173x31x||HOMESMAN (USA)||Anthony & Sam Freedman||Jye McNeil||16||59kg||110|
|4||5x1230x40x||HUMIDOR (NZ)||Chris Waller||Michael Rodd||3||59kg||109|
|5||0x51068x82||MISTER SEA WOLF (IRE)||Chris Waller||Luke Dittman||1||59kg||108|
|6||92527×1201||SHARED AMBITION (IRE)||Chris Waller||Jim Byrne||8||59kg||107|
|7||x8x3647x62||ZAAKI (GB)||Annabel Neasham||James McDonald||14||59kg||107|
|8||x645995163||TIPTRONIC (NZ)||Graham Richardson & Rogan Norvall||Glen Boss||2||59kg||106|
|9||60113×1916||MELODY BELLE (NZ)||Jamie Richards||Opie Bosson||17||57kg||117|
|10||02900×8791||NETTOYER||Wendy Roche||Ben Thompson||13||57kg||110|
|11||58203×6814||TOFFEE TONGUE (NZ)||Chris Waller||Brenton Avdulla||5||57kg||108|
|12||453221114x||PARADEE||Danny O’Brien||Craig Williams||15||57kg||106|
|13||1x90399x17||VANNA GIRL||Toby & Trent Edmonds||Brad Stewart||11||57kg||102|
|14||2112x145x3||TWO ILLICIT (NZ)||Roger James & Robert Wellwood||Vinnie Colgan||6||57kg||101|
|15e||7x03876x00||BRANDENBURG (NZ)||John Sargent||Regan Bayliss||7||59kg||100|
|16e||x14000x405||THE CANDY MAN||Barry Baldwin||Baylee Nothdurft||4||59kg||100|
|17e||15145xL140||FLASH AAH||Mitchell Fry||10||59kg||89|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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