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G1 Tancred win confirms Avilius as Australian racing’s heir apparent

Mike Hedge

He’s been the revelation of the season, and the signs are unmistakeable that Avilius has what it takes to be the next star of Australian racing.

Avilius cruised to his second G1 win in as many weeks in Saturday’s Tancred Stakes, adding Rosehill’s premier open class race to his G1 Ranvet Stakes victory of the previous weekend.

Originally trained in France where he won two races, Avilius had won seven times in Australia before his latest, and most impressive victory.

Given time to find his feet on a rain-soaked track, Avilius put himself into the race at the 800m and then put his opposition out of business over the final 400m.

“You have to be wary of being arrogant, but he was imperious. He’s a horse to be respected and a credit to where he came from," said trainer James Cummings.

“I looked at him this morning and I felt he was stronger than ever, it was going to take a tragedy to beat him.”

Nothing that might have troubled Avilius emerged over the 2,400m of the Tancred, and as he powered to the line 2-1/4 lengths clear of Big Duke with Rondinella in third place, he left the rest in his wake.

Jockey James McDonald echoed the horse’s trainer, describing Avilius as “a class above” his opposition.

“He’s simply brilliant, so smooth, a super horse and a pleasure to ride,” McDonald said.

Cummings intended to give Avilius only a light campaign when he kicked off with a first-up success in the G3 Carlyon Cup at Caulfield in early February.

He won his next start in the G2 Peter Young at the same track and was a firm favourite to win his first G1 in the Australian Cup three weeks ago.

Ironically, his defeat in that race led to him running in the Tancred.

“It was as though he hadn’t had a run in the Australian Cup and that allowed him to be in the right form to run today,” Cummings said.

The temptation now is to run against Winx in the G1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick on Saturday, 13 April. But Cummings is almost certain to resist.

“It’s more than likely that I’ll put him in the paddock,” he said.

With Winx due to retire after the Queen Elizabeth and with the boom three-year-old The Autumn Sun expected to go to stud, the spring could well belong to Avilius who is already the nominal favourite for the G1 Cox Plate.