There is class on display everywhere at Randwick on Saturday, from the champion Winx to the devilishly quick Redzel in another mini-Everest trek, then there is Avilius (GB), an impeccably bred son of Pivotal with serious European form that he has brought to Sydney with nonchalant ease.
Godolphin imported the five-year-old gelding and presented him at Randwick on August 4th. He duly won the Benchmark 91 over 1600m under Glyn Schofield on a Good 3 track and paying a price not to be repeated, $5.00.
The stable raised the bar a little and he next won the Group 3 Premiers Cup over 1900m at Rosehill on August 25th, this time on a Soft 5, and as the $1.70 favourite.
Notwithstanding that all imports have to adjust to our racing, training and climate it was not surprising that Avilius, out of the Sunday Silence mare Alrssandria, performed well.
There are not too many racing anywhere who can show Group 2 form behind Cracksman (GB), in the Prix Neil over 2400m at Chantilly this time last year, and the son of Frankel, Eminent (IRE), in the Prix Gullayme over 2000m at Deauville in August.
The markets reacted to the wins, Avilius is the $4.00 favourite for the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick on September 29th, $13.00 for the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 20th and $26.00 for the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 6th.
He has 52kg for The Metropolitan and 53kg for the Victorian Cups.
Avilius (GB) and Glyn Schofield, picture Stevehart.com.au
On Saturday Avilius carries 56kg under Schofield in the $160,000, Group 3 The Agency Real Estate Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) and after a wager of $20,000 recorded by TAB.com.au late Thursday at $2.40, he is the favourite at $2.30.
Next in the market is the Waterhouse and Bott trained five-year-old Sebring mare Sedanzer at $4.40. The listed Scone Cup and Group 2 Brisbane Cup winner is also on the second line to Avilius in The Metropolitan market at $8.00.
So far the plan to bring the lightly weighted Group galloper, also lightly raced with just nine starts, to the 2018 Australian spring has worked seamlessly.
As trainer James Cummings commented earlier this week, the bar is now higher.
“If he is to be a Cups contender he has to keep on improving and absorbing the pressure,” said Cummings.
“He is thriving and he really has the task ahead to meet the expectations that have built around him. Since he came to us in April he’s got better and better.
“I expect him to enjoy the 2000m at Randwick on the way out to 2400m later on.
“This is a stronger race as you would expect and he meets some good horses. The good thing about this race is that he cannot be penalised for the Cup,” he said.
Godolphin have a formidable team both already assembled for spring racing under Cummings, in quarantine at Werribee for Charlie Appleby with more arriving for the Newmarket based trainer.
Avilius has slotted well into the planning by the world stable and Saturday’s results should see this progressing to the next step.
The Kingston Town Stakes is Race 8 at 4.30pm.