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20/9/2019 Avilius and Osborne Bulls step out in Randwick features

Dual G1 winner Avilius returns to the elite level in Saturday’s G1 George Main Stakes on a Randwick card that also marks the much-anticipated return of crack sprinter Osborne Bulls.

Avilius (Kerrin McEvoy) has proved a revelation since arriving from France, winning his first four on end in his first Australian campaign and another four, including two G1s in his second.

Like last spring, the G1 Cox plate is high on his agenda, but trainer James Cummings is also considering the G1 Caulfield Cup, a race won last season by international Godolphin runner Best Solution.

“The Cox Plate is an obvious target and the Caulfield Cup is also in our minds, under the right circumstances he could even run in both, but nothing is set in stone,” Cummings said.

Avilius has begun his latest preparation over sprint trips and Cummings is conscious that the 1,600m of Saturday’s race may also be short of his ideal distance.

“In his first preparation, he started off in longer races. This preparation has been more a test of how much speed he has in his legs."

“This race will be challenging for him at 1,600m, but he’s very well and there is a bit in his favour, including the likelihood of a wet track.”

While Avilius appears in the day’s feature, he will be competing for attention with stablemate Osborne Bulls who is on a path to the $14 million The Everest at Randwick on October 19.

Osborne Bulls ran five consecutive G1 second placings last campaign and drops back to G2 level in The Shorts on Saturday.

“What I like about this race is that he isn’t in a G1 first-up and he doesn’t have to make a statement to get into the Everest,” Cummings said.

“He galloped at Randwick last Saturday week and he got enough out of the gallop to have him where I want him."

“At the same time, we have him in a position where he can come on from this run.”

Osborne Bulls is joined by Viridine who Cummings is expecting to run a bold race in an event full of Everest hopefuls.

“He’s capable of being very strong to the line in this race,” Cummings said.

Cummings will also saddle Flit in the G2 Darley Tea Rose Stakes, a race he says will challenge the filly, but one in which she is capable of being competitive.

“It is a challenging assignment and should be a good test of her potential. I expect to see her getting to the line strongly,” he said.

One of the team’s newer additions, the former French galloper Cascadian (Kerrin McEvoy) has his second Australian start in the G3 Bill Ritchie Handicap with Cummings’ expectations lifted by a step up in trip to 1,400m.

“This will be a much more enjoyable test for him than the 1,200m first-up. We’re looking at G1 races like the Epsom or the Cantala Stakes for him,” he said.

Cascadian will be accompanied by Tally (Josh Parr) who is first-up in the same race.


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