By Brad Gray
Avilius tore through the grades in his first Australian preparation and punters will get their first look at the Godolphin import ahead of the autumn in a trial on Tuesday at Warwick Farm.
James Cummings admitted to already having one eye on the spring and next autumn, with champion mare Winx about to embark on her probable final preparation.
“Next year is going to be a lot more inviting to be in Sydney than it is this year,” said Cummings.
“This why we must look after him this preparation and not over tax him. He has come back well though. That horse looked good the moment we had him in training last preparation, so he is still well in himself. He is looking and feeling just the way we want him.”
As for targets over the autumn for Avilius, having won his first four starts in Australia, Cummings concedes there are bountiful races for a horse like him.
“There is a smorgasbord of options for trainers over the autumn carnival. I’ve got three beautiful races in mind for him in Melbourne but I could also hold the horse back and consider races in Sydney but at this stage he will probably run first up in Melbourne,” he said.
“He has raced through the grades and his rating has been impacted as a result. Now that he enters the fray of set weights and penalties races, and potentially weight for age races, he has nowhere to hide. It’s going to be a bit too much to expect him to have the blistering acceleration past his opposition that he had before.”
Meanwhile, it’s all systems go with Alizee ahead of the G2 Expressway Stakes at Rosehill Gardens on February 2, setting up a clash with Trapeze Artist.
“She is motoring her way through the preliminaries stages of her campaign and we’ll see her in the Expressway Stakes Saturday week. You had to be thoroughly impressed by the strength she exhibited through the line in a recent barrier trial at Rosehill,” said Cummings.
“There will be other good sprinters in that race too so it will be advantageous to have a little bit of a fitness edge on a fair few of her opposition but it’s been a while since I’ve raced the horse second up at 1200m so we’ve got to hope we see the same electricity from her second up.”
The current Golden Slipper favourite Tassort is also doing everything right on the training track, progressing since his outstanding debut win back in late November.
“He is settling into his work really nicely now and I’m pleased with him but it is early days,” said Cummings.