The real Avilius turns-up at Rosehill Gardens to land the Ranvet

The internationally renowned Godolphin stable landed another major weight-for-age contest on the Australian racing calendar when the imported 5-year-old Avilius (by Pivotal) ran out an impressive winner of the $700,000, Group 1, Ranvet Stakes (2000m) on the star studded Rosehill Gardens program in Sydney.

Avilius and Kerrin McEvoy win the Ranvet, photo

A disappointing odds-on favourite of the Group 1 Australian Cup at his previous outing, the handsome black gelding looked an entirely different racing proposition when chiming into the contest halfway down the Rosehill straight before going on to record a stylish maiden Group 1 victory.

In a very pleasing return to the race’s past glories, this year’s Ranvet attracted a near capacity field of quality runners boasting significance credentials. None more so than He’s Eminent (by Frankel), a first-crop son of the immortal Frankel having the first of two expected starts in Australia enroute to a stud career in New Zealand.

A high-class animal that had made his name in stellar company in Europe as a bold front-runner, He’s Eminent took up the running relatively soon after the start of the coveted event and appeared a likely chance of leading all the way to the winning post when establishing a commanding advantage at the top of the straight.

However, no sooner had He’s Eminent started shortening his action when Avilius began to get in to full stride, the high-class Godolphin representative assuming control of the race 150m from the finishing line before careering away from his opposition to a two-and-a-quarter length victory.

To his very great credit, He’s Eminent boxed-on to finish second, half-a-length in advance of the late finishing Danzdanzdance (by Mastercraftsman).

James Cummings and Kerrin McEvoy celebrate, photo

Speaking after the stunning return to form of Avilius, Godolphin head trainer James Cummings declared: “He’s a super horse and that was a demonstration of the supreme turn of foot that he can exhibit. 

“Kerrin [McEvoy] wasn’t here to ride the track, he was here to ride the horse and I think that was the key to getting the horse over the line.

“He had a bit to turn around from his performance in the Australian Cup and we knew it, but he’s had a fantastic fortnight and I’m just proud of the team.”

Cummings continued: “I’m just so impressed by the horse to come from such a difficult position to claim them and win with authority.

“That’s the sort of weight-for-age promise that he demonstrated when he hit the racetrack in Australia last year. He’s got up and won us a Group 1, so we’re thrilled for the horse.”

Cummings indicated that Avilius may be back in action as early as next week.

“I don’t want to make any decisions on race day. It will be up to the way Avilius pulls up. We hold a nomination for the Tancred next week, but it’s very much a team effort to get him here and he’s done a wonderful job to improve many, many lengths since getting back from Melbourne.”

Avilius clocked the winning time 2m07.13s, which proved to be a fraction superior to that recorded by The Autumn Sun when also ridden by Kerrin McEvoy over the same course and distance just 80-90 minutes beforehand. 

Typically calculated in his thoughts, McEvoy made Avilius’s reversal of form fully understandable.

Kerrin McEvoy salutes on Avilius, photo

“He bounced back from that last start defeat in the Australian Cup,” claimed the winning rider. “I think he enjoyed getting back to Sydney and getting onto some softer ground. 

“I had a nice run through, following Auvray. He picked up really well when I asked him. He powered through the ground. Soon after I asked him I thought I’ve got this won.

“It’s pretty evident that he is pretty electric and that ground assisted him. He’s been well managed by James and they came here with a good amount of confidence today. 

“The further I went in the run, the more he started to travel. He might go to 2400m in the old BMW, the Tancred, that’s still to be decided. Winx is the main girl in the QEII, but he can put up a good fight I’m sure.”

Avilius went off the $4.40 favourite of the Ranvet. He’s Eminent and Danzdanzdance started the contest at $19.00 and $5.00 respectively.

A Listed race winner in France before his transfer to Australia, Avilius has now won nine of his 17 starts and placed on another three occasions for $1,504,460 in earnings.

Ranvet Stakes, photo finish picture ATC

What the beaten jockeys said:

Damien Oliver (Almandin): “He’s just not racing up to his best, so I think his career might have come to the end now.”

Dwayne Dunn (Ace High): “He’s better probably on top of the ground or ridden that little bit quieter.”

Brett Prebble (The Taj Mahal): “He really struggled in the ground, I thought he would have loved a bit of cut in the ground being a European horse, but he couldn’t show his pace and never really travelled in it.”

James McDonald (He's Eminent): “Very proud of his efforts, he was gallant in defeat, it took a fit horse to beat him.”

Oisin Murphy (Night's Watch): “He didn’t handle the ground and just didn’t run his race.”

Mark Zahra (Sikandarabad): “Cardiac arrhythmia.”

Glyn Schofield (Auvray): “Doesn’t like the ground, but he ran pretty well.”

Opie Bosson (Danzdanzdance): “Very good run, she over-raced a little bit in the middle stages, little bit of a chequered run, but she hit the line hard.”

Craig Williams (Shillelagh): “Ended up being a bit of a shipwreck, when Sikandrabad came straight back through the field we had to take evasive action, she didn’t like the ground at all, but I thought she tried really hard under the circumstances.”

Hugh Bowman (Unforgotten): “Very proud of her.”

Brenton Avdulla (Egg Tart): “She gave me a good ride, I thought I was the winner on the corner, but just struggled up the straight.”

Corey Brown (Savvy Coup): “Didn’t handle the going.”

Blake Shinn (Nettoyer): “She ran really well, up to WFA from mares’ grade, kept making ground and did a great job to run fifth. She’s a top class mare in the making.”

Avilius (GB) and Kerrin McEvoy out on their own, picture