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Avilius is set for another trip on the Hume Highway from Sydney ahead of the Australian Cup at Flemington

Godolphin galloper Avilius is set for another trip on the Hume Highway from Sydney ahead of the Australian Cup at Flemington.

Saturday’s 2000m race is the second Group One assignment for the James Cummings-trained galloper in a week.

After starting his campaign at Caulfield early last month, Avilius returned to Sydney finishing fourth behind Te Akau Shark in the Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Randwick last Saturday.

Godolphin trainer James Cummings said despite the gelding’s return to Sydney, the Australian Cup had been considered a potential back-up option.

“We wanted to keep him in this race all along knowing he’d be a possible runner,” Cummings said.

“Since he ran in the Chipping Norton last week, we’ve been looking for the clues that would tell us he’d pulled up well and that everything was as I wanted it for him to run in Group Ones on successive weekends.

“And the signs are all good.

“We also had the knowledge that this time last year, he won the Tancred Stakes off a seven-day back-up from his win in the Ranvet.”

Cummings said the performance of Avilius in the Chipping Norton last week was that of a horse looking for 2000m.

“He was briefly held up last week and the winner was able to use his turn of foot to advantage,” Cummings said.

“We’re looking forward to him being the hunter rather than the hunted on Saturday.”

Avilius finished fifth in the Australian Cup behind Harlem, an opponent on Saturday, in last year’s Australian Cup as the $1.65 favourite.

The gelding was sent out those prohibitive odds following Caulfield wins in the Carlyon Cup (1600m) and the Peter Young Stakes (1800m) in the lead-up.

After the disappointment of the Australian Cup defeat, Avilius was transferred to Sydney to take out the Group One double of the Ranvet Stakes (2000m) and Tancred Stakes (2400m).

Cummings has not ruled out another shot at the double after Saturday’s race.

“We might press on to the Tancred, but running this Saturday wouldn’t preclude him from running in the Ranvet again,” Cummings said.

After the field of 14 was declared, Avilius opened the $4.60 favourite and has since firmed into $3.90 with Perth galloper Regal Power the $6 second pick.

 
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