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Avilius headlines the list of horses trying to secure a Melbourne Cup berth in The Bart Cummings

Emerging staying star Avilius headlines the list of horses trying to secure a Melbourne Cup berth in The Bart Cummings at Flemington.

Godolphin import Avilius has made an instant impression in Australia with three impressive wins from as many starts in Sydney this spring including the Group Three Premier’s Cup (1900m) and Group Three Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) at his past two outings.

Connections opted to bypass Saturday’s Group One Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick for which Avilius had been the early favourite in preference to target Saturday’s Bart Cummings at Flemington.

The Group Three Bart Cummings (2500m) carries a Melbourne Cup ballot exemption to the winner.

Avilius is trained by James Cummings, grandson of the late Bart Cummings who won 12 Melbourne Cups as a trainer.

Only Sir Isaac Newton is not among 2018 Melbourne Cup entries from the 19 horses nominated for Saturday’s race.

The TAB has posted Avilius as the $2.20 favourite in its all-in market for The Bart Cummings ahead of The Taj Mahal at $6.

Friday night’s JRA Cup winner The Taj Mahal heads the weights with 59.5kg ahead of Avilius who has 58.5kg.

There is a field limit of 16 plus emergencies with acceptances taken on Wednesday.

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