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Avilius emerges as G1 hope after making it two-from-two in Australia

Mike Hedge

The G1 Caulfield Cup is looming as a new spring target for the former French-trained Avilius following his victory in Saturday’s G3 Premier’s Cup at Rosehill.

Trainer James Cummings was reluctant to get too optimistic, but he confirmed Avilius would be among the entries for the Caulfield feature, one of the showpiece events of the Australian spring.

Avilius overcame difficulties before claiming his second win from as many starts in Australia, defeating I Am Serious by a neck.

“He’s an exciting horse, he was a weapon when he got into the clear,” Cummings said. “We won’t get carried away, but it might be worth nominating for the Caulfield Cup.”

Before a decision on a start at Caulfield becomes a reality, Avilius will need to lift his rating with Cummings looking to either the G3 Newcastle Cup on 14 September or the G3 Kingston Town Stakes at Randwick the following day.

Cummings would then consider a start in the G1 Metropolitan at Randwick on 29 September, with the A$5 million Caulfield Cup run on 20 October.

Formerly trained for Godolphin by Andre Fabre, Avilius, a five-year-old to southern-hemisphere time, had won twice in France and been placed three times in Group company before shipping to Australia earlier this year.

“From the moment he arrived his class was obvious,” Cummings said. “He’s adapted beautifully and he’s shown what the Australian team can do.”

Avilius settled in the second half of the field and had to manoeuvre a path through a pack of horses entering the straight.

Once clear, he stretched out strongly, claiming the lead with 120m to run and comfortably holding I am Serious and third placegetter Testashadow.

Jockey Glyn Schofield praised Avilius’ class and his turn of foot. “He’s a horse who gives you the utmost confidence,” Schofield said.

“He had to chase a quality mare out there today and he picked her up quite comfortably in the end.”

The win maintained the flow of winners for the Australian stable, becoming the 19th winner in the famous royal blue colours since the new season began on 1 August.