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Another challenge for Avilius in Caulfield G2

Mike Hedge

The relentless progress through Australian racing ranks of the former French middle-distance runner Avilius continues at Caulfield on Saturday in the G2 Peter Young Stakes.

Avilius (Hugh Bowman) came to Australia in mid-2018 with a Listed and a maiden victory and three Group placings to his credit and has blossomed into one of the more talented and reliable horses in training.

Confidence within the local Godolphin stable remains high that he will enhance his reputation when he tackles a quality field at Caulfield.

“He’s ticking along beautifully, he’s a relaxed horse and he’ll get to the Peter Young in good shape,” said trainer James Cummings.

“I’m delighted with him. He hasn’t needed to do too much.”

Avilius’ training program included a trip to Caulfield on Tuesday morning for a gallop that left Cummings in little doubt that the horse was ready to repeat his first-up win of two weeks earlier.

“He was in a really strong tempo first-up and demonstrated his fitness in the way he tried so hard. 

“So he’s where he needs to be and I’d say he’s going to be an excellent chance in the Peter Young.”

Avilius has won five races in Australia with his only disappointment coming in the G1 Melbourne Cup when he almost fell in the early stages.

In his only run since that mishap, Avilius produced a remarkable effort to win over 1,600m at Caulfield two weeks ago and steps up to 1,800m here.

Another progressive member of the Australian team, Tin Hat (Damian Lane), is looking for his fourth win on end in the G3 Zeditave Stakes.

Cummings resisted the temptation to run the three-year-old in the G1 Oakleigh Plate on the same Caulfield Card, but he nevertheless faces some high-class opposition of his own age in the Zedative.

“I liked the way he carved out a strong win last time in a Group race,” Cummings said.

“He’s in good shape, he’s got match fitness on his side and he’s got the ability to sustain good pressure throughout.”

Among Tin Hat’s six opponents are the exceptional colt Zousain and the South Australia colt Terbium who is unbeaten in his only three starts.