Cum­mings out to book a Cup spot with Avil­ius

The Sportsman Weekend - - News - SHAYNE O’CASS

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.”


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