James Cummings rates a Cox Plate appointment with Winx as the perfect way to finalise Avilius’ Melbourne Cup preparation.
The Godolphin-owned galloper sits on the third line of Melbourne Cup betting at $13 behind Yucatan Ire ($5) with Best Solution and Magic Circle joint $11 second favourites.
Avilius is unbeaten in four Australian starts, winning three times in Sydney before earning a Melbourne Cup berth with victory in The Bart Cummings at Flemington on October 6.
He tackles Winx at his first weight-for-age attempt in Saturday’s Cox Plate.
Cummings considers the 2040m an ideal stepping stone towards the Melbourne Cup and he doesn’t expect Avilius to suffer for taking on Winx.
“As for horses taking ill-effect from Winx, it never stopped Chautauqua dropping back from a George Ryder and winning the TJ Smith,” Cummings said.
“It never stopped Happy Clapper from being defeated in a George Main and winning the Epsom or being beaten by her in the George Ryder and winning a Doncaster.
“Le Romain competed against her in the George Main and then gave them all a scare in the Everest.
“It’s the best form there is.
“I think if our horses are fit and healthy after they run against her then we’re in a good position.”
The Cox Plate has a rich history when it comes to Melbourne Cup glory.
Most recently Saintly (1996) and Makybe Diva (2005) completed the double while Jeune (1994), Efficient (2007), Green Moon (2012) and Fiorente (2013) ran in the race on their way to Cup success.
Cummings is hoping Avilius can fill a placing behind the great mare.
“When it comes to weight-for-age the pressure can go on a long way out,” Cummings said.
“He’s not yet proven to have that turn of foot to be competitive there, but the way he’s going he might be capable of giving them a scare.”