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French revelation set for G1 Australian Cup success

Mike Hedge

He’s been the revelation of the season in Godolphin’s Australian stable, and on Saturday he has the chance to stand with the stars of the team when he runs in the G1 Australian Cup at Flemington.

Avilius came to Australia in superb condition from French trainer Andre Fabre and was able to win handsomely the first time he stepped onto a local track. Since that first race, he has just kept on winning.

The first-up success has been followed by five more victories, the only blemish on his record being an unplaced run in the Melbourne Cup last November when he suffered race-ending interference soon after the start.

Avilius, who will be ridden by Hugh Bowman, was given plenty of time to recover and resumed with a stunning victory in the G3 Carlyon Cup at Caulfield on Saturday, 9 February.

He followed that with an even more impressive win in the G2 Peter Young Stakes at the same track two weeks later and will turn up at Flemington on Saturday in even better shape.

“He’s continued to thrive which is a relief considering the schedule we’d set for him,” trainer James Cummings said.

“But he’s a horse that’s able to do it because he has a weight-for-age attitude and constitution.”

“He’s been a revelation, he deserves to win a Group One race."

“This is his moment.”

Among Avilius’s opponents on Saturday are the 2016 and 2017 Melbourne Cup winners Almandin and Rekindling, the G1 Champion Stakes and Victoria Derby winner Ace High and G1 Mackinnon Stakes winner Trap For Fools, who chased home the Godolphin runner last time out.

The Godolphin team are also hoping to unearth another prospective middle-distance performer when La Tene (Dwayne Dunn) runs in the G2 Sires Produce Stakes at Flemington.

After placings at her first three starts, the filly broke through for a maiden success when stepping up to 1,400m at Geelong last start and remains at that trip in the Sires’.

“To have had a run over the distance should be of benefit to a two-year-old filly like her,” Cummings said.

“She’ll have to contend with some promising colts, but we’re happy to see her at this level.”