Oct 15 2020 Godolphin Caulfield Runners
Photo: Avilius

Avilius is on track to mix it with a strong contingent of Irish and English runners headed by an Epsom Derby winner in his attempt to add Saturday’s Group One Caulfield Cup in Melbourne to his impressive record.

One of the most successful exports Godolphin has sent to Australia, Avilius (John Allen) has won three G1 races in his new home and has been one of the stars of the local team.

While victory in the race widely regarded as one of the world’s toughest 2,400m handicaps will require Avilius to lift to a new level, trainer James Cummings is looking forward to the challenge.

“He’s sailing along beautifully and he’s highly likely to produce the best run of this campaign,” Cummings said.

“There are some quality horses around him in the weights, but his last run in Sydney was very good and we suspect the form from that race is pretty good.”

Avilius will carry 57kg in the Caulfield Cup, a race Godolphin won with All The Good in 2008 and Best Solution in 2018, both of whom were trained by Saeed bin Suroor.

Among the contenders in this year’s race is the 2019 Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck, Buckhurst and True Self from Ireland and the English pair Dashing Willoughby and Prince Of Arran.

Cummings, however, is concerned only with his horse who he says has improved since finishing second to Kolding over 2,000m in the G2 Hill Stakes.

“The natural improvement that he’s gained from that run has given him the sniff of victory,” he said.

“There are few things that would give me more pleasure than to see Avilius storming home in a Caulfield Cup. He deserves it.”

On the same Caulfield card, the fillies Pensato (William Pike) and Silhouette (John Allen) will be out to secure a start in next month’s G1 VRC Oaks when they run in the G3 Ethereal Stakes.

Pensato is a sister to the good racehorse and successful stallion Pierro and showed she could race up to her impressive pedigree when she broke through last start to win over 1,800m at Flemington.

“We backed our judgement with her last start by stepping her up in trip and she rewarded us with a very solid win,” Cummings said.

“One thing is for sure, there won’t be a better-bred filly than this saddled up on Saturday.”

Silhouette is another filly likely to appreciate getting out in distance.

“Her effort last start was that of a staying filly and the extra distance should suit her,” Cummings said.

 “We could have a couple of Oaks contenders after this race.”

Another pair of European imports represent Godolphin in the G3 Moonga Plate with Best Of Days (Janie Kah) joined by the newly-arrived Munitions (Damien Oliver) and the local Gaulois (Mark Zahra).

“Best Of Days ran a slashing race first-up and followed up with a nice piece of work on Tuesday at Flemington that suggested he’s still sharp enough for a race like this."

“There’s not much doubt Munitions needed the run last start. He’s made improvement but may need more racing."

“Gaulois ran in the same race as Best Of Days at Flemington last start and wasn’t disgraced after being up on the pace from his wide gate.”

The full field and barriers for the Caulfield Cup:

1. Anthony Van Dyck (IRE) - Aidan O'Brien & H Bowman (58.5kg) – Barrier 21 $6.50

2. Avilius (GB) - James Cummings & J Allen (57kg) – Barrier 17 $34

3. Vow And Declare - Danny O'Brien & D Oliver (57kg) – Barrier 18 $14

4. Buckhurst (IRE) - Joseph O'Brien & B Melham (55kg) – Barrier 9 $14

5. Mirage Dancer (GB) - Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young & C Newitt (55kg) – Barrier 6 $17

6. Mustajeer (GB) - Kris Lees & W Egan (55kg) – Barrier 15 $101

7. Verry Elleegant (NZ) - Chris Waller & M Zahra (55kg) - Barrier 11 $5.50

8. Dashing Willoughby (GB) - Andrew Balding & M Walker (54.5kg) - Barrier 2 $21

9. Finche (GB) - Chris Waller & D Lane (54.5kg) – Barrier 12 $11

10. Prince Of Arran (GB) - Charlie Fellowes & J Kah (54.5kg) – Barrier 19 $26

11. Master Of Wine (GER) - Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes & C Williams (53.5kg) - Barrier 7 $9.50

12. The Chosen One (NZ) - Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman & D Stackhouse (53.5kg) – Barrier 3 $81

13. Warning - Anthony & Sam Freedman & L Currie (53kg) - Barrier 20 $21

14. Dalasan - Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas & W Pike (52.5kg) - Barrier 14 $21

15. True Self (IRE) - Willie Mullins & D Bates (52kg) - Barrier 4 $21

16. Aktau (GB) - Michael Moroney & D Moor (51kg) - Barrier 1 $61

17. Toffee Tongue (NZ) - Chris Waller & M Dee (51kg) - Barrier 5 $13

18. Chapada - Michael Moroney & J McNeil (50.5kg) - Barrier 16 $21

19e. Raheen House (IRE) - Kris Lees & TBC (53.5kg) - Barrier 22 $201

20e. San Huberto (IRE) - Matt Cumani & F Kersley (53.5kg) - Barrier 10 $51

21e. Oceanex (NZ) - Mick Price & Michael Kent Jnr & Z Spain (51.5kg) - Barrier 8 $81

22e. Le Don De Vie (GB) - Anthony & Sam Freedman & TBC (52.5kg) - Barrier 13 $61

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