Triple G1 winner Avilius retires and joins Lifetime Care program
A career thus far characterised by resilience, courage and determination has come to an end for Avilius, whose next chapter sees him honoured as a flagbearer for the Godolphin Lifetime Care program following the announcement by Godolphin of his retirement from racing.
A horse of great promise in France where he won two of his seven starts, Avilius became one of the stars of his generation in Australia. He matured into a multiple Group One winner with the versatility to win at the supreme level over distances ranging from 1,600m to 2,400m.
Avilius left the stable of his French trainer Andre Fabre in late 2017 at the end of a three-year-old year in which he had been matching strides with horses of the calibre of the four-time G1 winner Cracksman behind whom he finished second in the G2 Prix Niel at Chantilly.
That was one of three Stakes placings in France for the son of Pivotal who had won his maiden at his second start and a Listed event at his third.
"Andre Fabre had put his blood, sweat and tears into Avilius before he got to us, he had great form behind Cracksman over a mile-and-a-half and now we're starting to put our own polish on him,” said his new trainer James Cummings.
The local conditions clearly suited Avilius who went on to win his first four starts on the bounce, among them the G3 Bart Cummings and one which earned its winner an automatic entry into the 2018 G1 Melbourne Cup.
In preparation for the Melbourne Cup, Avilius stepped out in the G1 WS Cox Plate where he ran respectably behind the Champion mare Winx.
It was the form that Avilius displayed at his next preparation that confirmed his status as a superior racehorse.
He returned the following February in the G3 Carlyon Cup at Caulfield which was to become the first of four wins for the campaign that included victories on successive weekends in the Ranvet Stakes and the Tancred Stakes, both at G1 level.
His Tancred performance drew a glowing endorsement from the man in the saddle, the champion jockey James McDonald.
“He’s as good as you get,” McDonald said.
“As soon as Winx retires, Avilius will be the best horse in Australia."
Whether or not that prediction proved accurate is debatable, but Avilius certainly did his best, winning a third G1 title in the 2019 George Main Stakes the following spring.
“This was a horse who gave us all he had,” said Cummings.
“So, it is only right that he should bow out with dignity. He was running well and, as he did from day one, he went into every battle in good health and with great desire.
“Horses like him never stop trying, so we have to know when to call time.
“He was an exceptionally talented horse. He was versatile and extremely resilient. He will be greatly missed, but he will always have a very good home.”
Avilius will let down before options for retraining or rehoming are considered under Godolphin’s Lifetime Care program.
Racing and Bloodstock Manager, Jason Walsh emphasises the importance of Avilius becoming a flagbearer in the Godolphin Lifetime Care program.
“He will now graduate as a flagbearer in the Godolphin Lifetime Care program which fundamentally illustrates our commitment to the highest standard of care throughout their lives,” Walsh said.
“One of the key objectives of the flagbearer program is to utilise the profile of a horse like Avilius to help promote the versatility of the Thoroughbred breed in a range of post-racing endeavours.
“A top-class horse of his calibre will continue to command attention and we look forward to exploring the particular equine pursuit that best suits his characteristics and desire”.