Avilius (GB) in a dominant George Main Stakes win

Godolphin’s trainer James Cummings described the win by Avilius (GB) in the $500,000, Group 1 WFA Colgate George Main Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday as a ‘Cox Plate’ performance with the stable now having to think through their options for the impressive six-year-old Pivotal gelding.

Avilius under Kerrin McEvoy changed the complexion of the race in strides taking control and sweeping away to a dominate 2 1/4L win.

McEvoy had bided his time with Avilius settling last as the field made its way down the back straight and towards the High Street side. Samadoubt and Tim Clark led trying for a three-peat after their two lead-up wins with Dreamforce and Nash Rawiller in second.

At the 1000m Avilius and McEvoy were still last and at the 800m McEvoy moved three wide with clear running room. They were five wide on the turn and by that stage making good progress, however with Dreamforce taking over they still had 4L to make up at the 300m

That was swiftly taken care with a turn of foot by Avilius that gathered in first the field, and second Dreamforce, and away they went to the line stamping the galloper as a serious threat for the Group 1 WFA Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley on October 26th.

Dreamforce (Fastnet Rock) and Rawiller were clear of Happy Clapper (Teofilo) and Glen Boss in third, the margi 1 1/4L with Angel Of Truth in fourth and Verry Elleegant (NZ) fifth.

The time was 1.36.18 on the upgraded Soft 6 track with the final 600m in 35.12. Avilius paid $3.00 on fixed odds and $3.10 on the tote as the favourite.

Avilius (GB) and Kerrin McEvoy with Dreamforce and Nash Rawllier on the rails, picture

“That was a ripping performance from the horse. I think very impressive. It is an interesting feeling when you feel you are only part way through the horse’s campaign. He was third up today and he had to be up to a certain level to put a horse like Dreamforce away,” said Cummings.

“It was really good to see from our perspective a little bit of rain around this week. It was even better to see some pressure in the race and when Kerrin was able to sweep up into the race he was going to be the strong horse late. Very proud of him to put Dreamforce away with that turn of foot at WFA level.

“I think it would be giving up too much to be needing it (wet tracks) every time. We cannot really expect to get it at Flemington on Turnbull Stakes day if that is where he lines up so he’s going to need to perform on top of the ground. I have got confidence in him to do it again.

“That was a Cox Plate effort today, but his first runs this campaign demonstrated he was more a Caulfield Cup. We have some thinking to do. He is airborne.

“We have been confident in the horse all the way along. We have not lost any confidence in him. A great ride from Kerrin to bring him into the race off that kind of pressure. It is what we needed to see,” he said.

“We didn’t have a great run in transit last time. Today, in the smaller field, I said right, we will take our medicine early.  They didn’t go all that quick, so I must admit I was a little bit worried, but I was able to get a bit of a trail up and he showed a good turn of foot,” said McEvoy.

“He likes that ground, and he can still quicken in that ground. He has done it at a mile here today but I think he is a typical 2000m/2400m horse, which is what we learned in the autumn, so to see him show that speed there today was a plus. On that ground he has a more continuous turn of foot and he did travel sweet today I must admit. 

“I don’t think James and the team have really locked in to his next fews runs. Obviously there is the Caulfield Stakes in a couple of weeks, the Caulfield Cup and the Cox Plate. So there is options for him and I am sure they will look at all of them,” he said.

Avilius, out of the Sunday Silence mare Alessandria, was winning for the 11th time and his third at Group 1 level. With four placings he has now earned stakes of $2,758,710.

What the beaten jockeys said:

Glen Boss (Happy Clapper): “He went great, the winner was just another level, that’s one serious race horse. My bloke to his credit, he never runs a bad race, so he’s still got a good one in him for sure.”

Nash Rawiller (Dreamforce): “He didn’t let me down one bit he ran super, he ran right up to his run the other day. Whether first up took a little bit out of him I’m not too sure. He went to the front at the furlong like the winner, but full credit to the winner he put him to the sword.”

Tim Clark (Samadoubt): “He ran solid, no excuses. I was able to control, but probably just found it a little bit tough to maintain that level he has been at the last couple of runs.”

Mark Zahra (Mr Marathon Man): “Wasn’t disgraced, back to handicap grade and he should run well.”

Luke Currie (Angel Of Truth): “It was an excellent run, he’s right on track to have a really good preparation.”

Tommy Berry (Danzdanzdance): “She gave me a tough time today, she had a real bee in her bonnet from the time I got on, she wasn’t herself. I don’t know the horse too well, but maybe just judge her on her next run.”

Brenton Avdulla (Youngstar): “I thought she ran fine, she’s just looking for a race with good genuine speed over 2000m.”

James McDonald (Verry Elleegant): “Her efforts were good today, big improvement off her first up run. Obviously got caught a bit wide, she boxed on okay.”

Chelmsford Stakes, photo finish picture ATC