from Mike Hedge at Godolphin
Impressive work on the training track and the promise of ideal racing conditions are behind the prospects of a classy trio of Godolphin contenders in Saturday’s Group One Doncaster Mile at Randwick.
Avilius, Cascadian and Best Of Days all produced sparkling gallops this week, leaving trainer James Cummings satisfied they will be at their best for the running of Australia’s premier 1,600m handicap.
“Avilius enjoyed a searching gallop at Osborne Park on Tuesday and looked in particularly good order, he’s particularly clean in the skin and coming to a peak this weekend third-up from a spell,” Cummings said.
“He takes on this time-honoured mile after two outstanding efforts in the Chipping Norton and George Ryder, traditional Doncaster form races.
“An expected soft track will not be his to enjoy exclusively but he does savour a bit of mush.
“He is such a noble, honest horse and gives his best every time. Victory would not be undeserved.”
Under the handicap conditions of the Doncaster, Avilius drops 3kg on his previous run, has Sydney’s leading rider James McDonald in the saddle and will be racing on his preferred soft track.
Avilius performed his final piece of fast work for the Doncaster alongside stablemate Cascadian with nothing separating the pair in what was a searching gallop.
“He comes into the race on cue and the opposition might be queuing up behind him. He drops 6kgs from the G1 George Ryder when he cut loose, late and wide, to beat all but the placegetters,” Cummings said.
“His trackwork since has been impressive and with average luck in running, he will be charging at the line like a runaway renegade.”
Cascadian follows the same path to the Doncaster as Avilius, having finished a length from the winner in the G1 George Ryder and his substantial drop in the weights, a favourable barrier and the services of Melbourne’s leading rider Jamie Kah add up to a persuasive mix.
The former Andre Fabre-trained runner also has form to recommend him from last year’s running of the race where he finished a luckless ninth.
The trio is completed by Best Of Days (Rachel King), who and has a G1 win in Australia to his credit like his stablemates commenced his career in Europe.
Best Of Days also demonstrated he was in great form with a close, last-start second to Homesman in the G1 Australian Cup at Flemington.
“This year this fellow has given his best every day. He is resilient, brave, competitive and honest as the days are long,” Cummings said.
“He has won or placed at four of his last five starts including a nose defeat at weight-for-age in the G1 Australian Cup.
“He invariably performs well off a freshen up, he likes Randwick and the predicted soft conditions are not detrimental to his chances.”