Godolphin’s James Cummings says Avilius’ best still to come

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The European import won the Ranvet Stakes and Tancred Stakes in his first season in Australia before taking the George Main Stakes last year and despite being listed as a seven-year-old he is only six according to European time.

Each time Cummings has started his preparation at a mile, Avilius has won second-up and his return in the slowly-run Chelmsford Stakes was arguably the best run of the race a fortnight ago. The on-pacers dominated, but Avilius got within 1¼ lengths as he rocketed home into fourth.

“It was a big effort in the Chelmsford Stakes, he was the only horse to make that much ground,” Cummings said. “It wasn’t a surprise to us because of what he had been doing at home.

“He is a master of weight-for-age and he beat two of his main rivals on Saturday in this race last year.

“It is a quality field, so he is going to have to be at his best to win.”

Cummings also has Collette in the George Main but believes the four-year-old is still developing.

“She is probably not entitled to be against these horses at this point given her lack of experience. I think she will be better in another 12 months,” he said. “She could run a nice race here and be beaten by the lot of them.”

It is a big afternoon for Godolphin going forward with Golden Rose and Newmarket Handicap winner Bivouac resuming in The Shorts attempting to lock away the Godolphin Everest slot.

“He is an outstanding group 1-winning colt and every time he steps out he is putting that reputation on the line,” Cummings said. “He is there to confirm his top ranking for The Everest but meets a very good group of sprinters.

“It is another day where he should stand up from the way he has been trialling.”

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Cummings also has Trekking in contention for The Everest and the Stradbroke and Goodwood winner will head to the Moir Stakes for his return.

Roheryn will stay in Sydney for the Bill Ritchie Handicap, leaving Cascadian as Godolphin’s representative in the group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at Caulfield.

“He should be close to peak fitness after two good efforts at weight-for-age and he might have got the knack of Caulfield by now,” Cummings said.

“As a handicap, this race should be easier and it might lead the way to a winnable Toorak Handicap.

“He’s a horse who has promised quite a bit and who now has the chance to live up to it.”

Cummings believes the Bill Ritchie will give a good indication of where Roheryn may fit as a group 1 horse.

“The Bill Ritchie is developing into a much strongrt race and you have to be top class to be winning it,” Cummings said. “It will tell us where he might end up this spring.”

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