Punt Racing

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Avilius primed for The Bart Cummings

Mathew Toogood


Trainer James Cummings says exciting import Avilius is primed for the Bart Cummings at Flemington as the stayer bids to secure a Melbourne Cup start.

Avilius has taken all before him since arriving in Australia and the exciting stayer is now primed for his chance to secure a spot in the Melbourne Cup.

The James Cummings-trained Godolphin import is the short-priced favourite for Saturday's Group Three Bart Cummings at Flemington which carries a ballot exemption for the winner into next month's Melbourne Cup.

Avilius is equal favourite for the Melbourne Cup at $13 in the TAB's market but 58th in the latest order of entry with a field limit of 24 for the rich staying handicap on the first Tuesday in November.

The five-year-old import is unbeaten in his three Australian starts in Sydney this spring including Group Three wins in the Premier's Cup (1900m) and Kingston Town Stakes (2000m).

"Avilius has enjoyed a good three weeks since his last run in the Kingston Town and is primed for this challenge," Cummings said.

"He's shown me that he can step onto his Melbourne leg quite comfortably in his work.

"This is his toughest challenge in Australia. He has 58.5 kilograms and is coming up against better horses all the time.

"He still seems full of energy the deeper he's going into his preparation.

"We hope to see him enjoy the pressure of such an important race."

To be ridden by Glyn Schofield, Avilius was at $2.20 on Wednesday after a field of 15 was declared for the 2500m-race.

James Cummings is a grandson of the late Bart Cummings for whom Saturday's race is named.

Bart Cummings won the Melbourne Cup a record 12 times as a trainer.

Now in his second spring carnival as the Australian trainer for Sheikh Mohammed's global operation, James Cummings is chasing his first Melbourne Cup and it is naturally high on the list of races the trainer wants to win.

"You name a race and then all of a sudden it makes the other races seem like they are not as important," Cummings has said.

"There are so many races that are important to the company.

"Is there a race that narrowly edges clear of the others? Well I'd probably say the Melbourne Cup is that race."