James Cummings has fallen agonisingly short of an important milestone but he still managed to finish a season-ending city meeting at Warwick Farm with yet another spring prospect for Godolphin.
Cummings needed a treble to train a century of Sydney metropolitan winners in 2018-19.
He had to settle for a double with Avon River and Waka scoring for jockeys Tommy Berry and Kerrin McEvoy respectively.
Avon River edged past stablemate Promotions to give Cummings his 21st individual two-year-old winner for the Australian racing season.
They cleared out from their rivals, prompting Cummings to declare the pair as horses to follow.
“With a margin back to third they could be two above-average rising three-year-olds here that could mix it in better races in the next two months,” he said.
Cummings finished a clear-cut second to Chris Waller in the metropolitan trainers’ title.
Waller posted 172 wins to claim his ninth consecutive crown.
Avon River will be given her chance to make a name for herself in the early part of the spring carnival.
In a stable of horses built around homebred talent, Avon River is an exception to the rule.
She was a $500,000 purchase last year as Sheikh Mohammed’s thoroughbred operation returned to the Australian yearling sale scene after a decade-long absence.
It’s been a profitable re-entry in more ways than one with Exhilarates winning the Magic Millions 2YO Classic after she was also bought out of the sale ring.
Exhilarates will be at the forefront of Cummings’s three-year-old fillies for the spring and Avon River might not be too far behind.
“(Winning today) it makes me think that she is not without a chance of running in a race like the Up And Coming Stakes which is not far around the corner,” Cummings said.
“I’d like to think she can keep improving now that she has chalked up that win.”
Nash Rawiller landed a city win less than a week after returning to racing after a Hong Kong disqualification.
Rawiller scored on the Anthony Cummings-trained Making Whoopee but his day came to a premature end after the third race.
Stewards reported Rawiller had suffered an injury and was stood down from his remaining rides.