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James Cummings believes Avilius is on target for his defence of the Ranvet Stakes at Rosehill

James Cummings believes Avilius is on target for his defence of the Ranvet Stakes at Rosehill but the Godolphin trainer is wary of a well-performed international visitor.

Avilius returned to Sydney after running fifth in the Group One Australian Cup on March 7 and the six-year-old will be chasing back-to-back wins in the Group One Ranvet Stakes (2000m) on Saturday at Rosehill.

The gelding won last year’s edition at the fourth start of his campaign on a heavy track, and like this year was coming off a fifth in the Australian Cup.

But Avilius’ opposition is highlighted by English visitor Addeybb who is the $2.40 favourite to make a winning introduction to Australian racing, with Avilius at $3.70 on Thursday.

The William Haggas-trained Addeybb, who has been housed at the Canterbury quarantine centre in the build-up to his Sydney autumn carnival debut, finished second to Magical in the Group One Champion Stakes at Ascot in October last year.

Earlier in 2019 he won the Listed Wolferton Stakes during the Royal meeting at Ascot in June, beating Magic Wand who went on to win the Group One Mackinnon Stakes in Melbourne last spring.

Rosehill was an improving soft track on Thursday and Cummings hopes it remains in that range for Avilius to come to the fore.

“He’s returned to Sydney in good shape,” Cummings said.

“He looks likely to get his preferred soft ground and has had the desirable three runs to be fit for this assignment.

“I’d say that he sets up well to defend his Ranvet title, but he’ll have to fend off a very classy Royal Ascot winner.”

The Ranvet field has been reduced to seven runners with promising import Mugatoo scratched to instead run in the Group Three Manion Cup (2400m) on the same program.

Mugatoo is unbeaten in his three Australian starts including the Listed Canberra Cup and is the $2.10 favourite for the Manion which also features the first autumn carnival appearance of Addeybb’s stablemate Young Rascal who is being aimed at the Sydney Cup.

 
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