Avilius, a horse who began his career in France and nourished it in Australia, is primed and ready to give Godolphin its second Melbourne Cup in three years when he steps out in Tuesday’s Group One test at Flemington.
Trainer James Cummings will send Avilius to the start in peak form, in spectacular good health and with a point to prove.
“His lead up has been faultless and he’s coming to the race off the best run of his current campaign,” Cummings said.
“And if there is anything to be said for making amends for past misfortune, he is capable of saying it.”
Avilius will be making his second attempt to win the $7.75 million feature after suffering severe interference that put him out of the race in 2018 when the royal blue colours were carried to victory by the Charlie Appleby-trained Cross Counter.
In the two years since, Avilius has won three G1 races and established himself as a horse of true class.
The seven-year-old has performed ominously in four runs this season and his effort in the G1 Caulfield Cup two weeks ago suggested he would be ready for a supreme performance on Tuesday.
Avilius finished sixth, just over two lengths from the winner Verry Elleegant and on the tail of the Epsom Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck in the Caulfield Cup, a race regarded as a reliable guide to Melbourne Cup prospects.
“In days gone by anyone doing their Melbourne Cup form would pay the closest attention to the Caulfield Cup,” Cummings said.
“What they’d see from this year’s race would be an Epsom Derby winner jump from a wide gate, come from last and go round the entire field and run second.”
“They’d see Verry Elleegant show her turn of foot and win the race, and they’d see Avilius run up behind the leaders at the furlong and then they’d see him get stopped in his tracks at the furlong.”
“It was the best run of his current preparation, and you want to be going into the Melbourne Cup off the back of your best run.”
Cummings believes Avilius is now racing more like a true stayer than ever before and that the resilience the horse showed after his mishap of 2018 adds further to his cause this year.
“He showed great resilience to come back after what happened in the Cup two years ago,” Cummings said.
Avilius presence in the Melbourne Cup is also a reflection of Godolphin’s global ambitions and is one of a string of horses to have been transferred from European and UK stables to lucrative lives in Australia.
As well as Avilius, horses such as Hartnell who won four G1s and five other Stakes races in Australia, Best Of Days and It’s Somewhat who both won G1s, and Cascadian who came within a head of doing the same at Flemington last Saturday and Home Of The Brave a multiple Stakes winner, have brought good European form Down Under and improved on it.