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Avilius (GB) hot for Australian Cup

Avilius (GB) took a stranglehold on next month's Australian Cup at Flemington after defying the track pattern at Caulfield to win the Group 3 Carlyon Cup (1600m) first-up on Saturday.

Delighted trainer James Cummings said he felt the galloper would improve again in his second Australian campaign, but said he felt the horse would be at his most potent next spring when he envisaged him vying for the biggest races in the country.

"Now we see him in his second racing preparation and he's a pretty serious horse that I think is capable of graduating to weight-for-age," Cummings said.

"The Australian Cup is his autumn target. We'll regroup after that but I am of the view that a light autumn will suit the horse.

"He's an extremely good addition to our stable and we're extremely grateful to have him and we want to look after him.

"He kept motoring to the line in good fashion. He's got a great amount of heart about him and good to see him win first-up over 1600 metres."

Avilius is a popular horse with punters but the way the track was racing at Caulfield - with the leaders to advantage - had a few of his supporters getting cold feet as he drifted from $2.70 to $3.10 by the time the field jumped away.

He sat back third-last in the field of 10 but jockey Kerrin McEvoy got to work on the import and he managed to overhaul the leaders to win by three-quarters of a length from Sikandarabad ($15), with the same margin to the strong finisher Night's Watch ($3.60) in third place.

Avilius has not raced since being knocked down in the Melbourne Cup, but Cummings said the horse has managed to recover from the experience.

"It was a sickening feeling seeing the horse getting knocked over in the Melbourne Cup as he was primed and ready to go. He had the right care and we were patient with him," he said.

Avilius (GB) and Kerrin McEvoy, picture Quentinjlang.com

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