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Avilius returns at Caulfield, but autumn could be brief

Mike Hedge

With his Melbourne Cup behind him, Avilius is set to begin his second Australian campaign on a high note in Saturday’s G3 Carlyon Cup on a day when autumn campaigns are traditionally begun.

And while Avilius (Kerrin McEvoy) has a lot to live up to, trainer James Cummings is prepared to take a measured approach to his second Australian preparation.

Avilius won his first four Australian starts in the spring, beginning with a benchmark 91 and adding three more at G3, including the Bart Cummings at Flemington which qualified him for the Melbourne Cup.

The former French-trained gelding then suffered severe interference that put him out of the Cup after only 800m.

But he has recovered from his injuries and showed a great willingness to get back to business in a gallop at Caulfield this week.

“He took some time to recover from the interference he received in the Melbourne Cup, which interrupted his paddock time, but we haven’t noticed any damage to his confidence in the build-up to his return,” Cummings said.

“Avilius has under his belt the strength gained from a full, tough Australian spring campaign.

“Even though he won brilliantly fresh up over a mile last preparation, he meets much tougher opposition here and will need to rise to the occasion.”

“It would be pleasing to see him get a few breaks and have a positive Caulfield experience.”

Cummings is contemplating giving Avilius only a brief autumn campaign.

“I can see the advantages of giving him a light autumn of perhaps only two or three runs,” he said.

Another resuming is the G1 Victoria Derby colt of last spring, Aramayo (Kerrin McEvoy), who returns to racing in the G2 Autumn Stakes.

“He’s had an uncomplicated preliminary, looking after himself as he’s gone along,” Cummings said.

“But I think he’s capable of being very strong late and he should enjoy the seven furlongs fresh up from his Derby campaign.”