Avilius (left) is favourite to win the Australian Cup after a winning return to racing at Caulfield.
Godolphin galloper Avilius has leapt to the top of Australian Cup markets with an impressive return victory at Caulfield.
Having his first run since being knocked out of contention when finishing 22nd in the Melbourne Cup, Avilius charged home from a rearward position to claim Saturday’s Group Three T S Carlyon Cup.
Avilius firmed from $6 to $3.50 for the Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 9 on the strength of the win.
Ridden by Kerrin McEvoy, Avilius was sent out the $3.10 favourite in accounting for Sikandarabad ($15) by three-quarters-of-a-length with Night’s Watch ($3.60) the same margin away third.
Avilius won his first four Australian starts for trainer James Cummings, including the Bart Cummings at Flemington ,which earned the stayer a start in the Melbourne Cup.
Cummings said he was expecting further improvement from the gelding at his second Australian preparation and Avilius would remain in Melbourne for the lead-up to the Australian Cup.
“He enjoys his time in Melbourne,” Cummings said.
“I used the farm at Osborne Park to get the full benefit in getting him fit enough but he does enjoy Carbine Lodge and the guys cherish him and look after him.
“He’s a pretty serious horse and he’s capable of graduating to weight-for-age and hopefully he’s on an upwards spiral this campaign.”
Cummings is planning a light autumn with Avilius, saying the gelding is likely to return to Caulfield for the Peter Young Stakes at Caulfield on February 23 ahead of the Australian Cup before spelling for a spring preparation.