Cummings out to book a Cup spot with Avilius
DAYS after taking the final slot in next week’s $13m TAB Everest (1200m) with Home Of The Brave, Godolphin head trainer James Cummings will now focus on booking a spot in this year’s Melbourne Cup.
In delightful twist, the James Cummings-trained stayer Avilius can assure himself a start in the race that stops nation if he
win tomorrow’s Group 3 VRC Bart Cummings (2500m) at Flemington.
Bart, aka the Cups King, was James’s grandfather and training partner in year’s preceding the Hall of Fame legends death in August 2015.
Avilius is weighted with 53kg in this year’s Melbourne Cup and 55th on the order of entry, however, with winner The Bart Cummings duly exempt from the ballot, it’s high stakes for the import who is unbeaten in three Australian starts.
One of those victories was in the Group 3 ATC Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick on September 15 where the son of Pivotal finished almost three lengths ahead of last weekend’s Group 1 Metropolitan Handicap winner Patrick Erin.
“Avilius has enjoyed a good three weeks since his last run in the Kingston Town and is primed for this challenge,” Cummings reported.
“He’s shown me that he can step onto his Melbourne leg quite comfortably in his work.
“This is toughest challenge in Australia, he has 58.5kg and is coming up against better horses all the time.
“He still seems full of energy
deeper he’s going into his preparation. We hope to see him enjoy the pressure of such an important race.”
The Bart Cummings is only in it’s 12th year but has already delivered one Melbourne Cup winner, namely Lloyd William’s Almandin in 2016.
Cummings also saddles-up one of the more intriguing runners at Flemington in the shape of VRC Maribyrnong Trial (1000m) hopeful Mercury.
Mercury is from the first crop of Darley stallion Brazen Beau who was deadly up Flemington straight winning both a Newmarket and Coolmore Stud Stakes.
“He was a lovely yearling and he looked good in his action in a straight-track jump out last week,’’ Cummings said.
“He’s got a bit about him this colt. He is out of the same mare as Osborne Bulls and hopefully he has the same dynamic finish.
“It’s been good to see him improve in his fitness and tone up a lot more. He should be strong late.’’
Mercury shares his name with a former star colt of T.J. Smith’s a
virtual replica sire Bletchingly and winner the Breeders’ Plate, Silver Slipper and Todman Slipper Trial in late 1980s.
Meanwhile Sydney, Cummings has a chance of claiming a second Group 1 win at Randwick within week when Aramayo lines-up in the Spring Champion Stakes over 2000m.
‘’He’s full of himself and enjoyed a strong gallop on the turf on Tuesday morning to bring his fitness levels right up where they need to be,’’ Cummings said.
“The step up in distance will suit him and his pedigree is really backing performance as we get to these Classic distances.”