Glyn Schofield guides Avilius to victory in the Kingston Town Stakes at Randwick on September 15. Picture: Mark Evans/Getty Images
Glyn Schofield guides Avilius to victory in the Kingston Town Stakes at Randwick on September 15. Picture: Mark Evans/Getty Images

Godolphin bring Cups contender to Melbourne

IN A surprise move Godolphin has elected to head to Melbourne with exciting stayer Avilius and bypass Sydney's Metropolitan Handicap.

Instead Avilius, who was a $2.80 favourite for the Metropolitan, will have his next start in The Bart Cummings at Flemington on October 6 - a race that gains the winner an automatic start in the Melbourne Cup.

Trainer James Cummings said the reason behind the move was to try to secure a spot in the Melbourne Cup.

"We feel that giving Avilius a look at Flemington with the hope of gaining a start in the Melbourne Cup is the right way to go with the horse," Cummings said.

"We discussed this as a team and are confident this is the best lead-up to the Cup and we are all extremely excited to be going down this path."

Avilius is unbeaten in three starts in Australia, the most recent of them last Saturday's G3 Kingston Town Stakes.

While Avilius is yet to race beyond 2000m in Australia, he has finished second in a Group 2  behind class galloper Cracksman over 2400m in France.

His performance at Randwick on Saturday suggests that the Bart Cummings, at 2500m, is an ideal stepping stone to the Melbourne Cup, which will be run over 3200m at Flemington on 6 November.


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