Pivotal's Avilius Earns a Ticket for Melbourne Cup
Mark Smith - Saturday October 6

Godolphin import Avilius (GB) had to survive a protest before keeping his Australian record at a perfect four for four in Saturday's Group III The Bart Cummings (2500m) while earning a free ticket to the $7 million Melbourne Cup (3200m) on November 6.

Given an inspired ride by Glyn Schofield, Avilius (GB) found a willing opponent in Shadwell Stud's import Jaameh (IRE) (Iffraaj) who made the favourite fight hard for his short-half-head win.

The Darren Weir-trained Yogi (Raise The Flag) was one and a quarter lengths back in third. (photo Grant Courtney)


Trained by Bart Cummings' grandson James Cummings, Avilius (GB) made a winning Australian debut over 1600 metres at Randwick on August 4. That was his first start since finishing sixth in the Group II Prix Dollar (2000m) at Chantilly in September last year. That followed a brave second to the outstanding Frankel colt Cracksman in the Prix Niel over 2400 metres on the same track earlier that month.

The son of Pivotal then added the Group III Premier's Cup at Rosehill Gardens and the Group III Kingston Town Stakes at Randwick, which earned him a trip down south.

"It's a huge effort by the team to bring this horse down from Sydney. He's had a great few months with us since arriving off the plane," Cummings said.

"We tend to go for the small fish when they're there but there's a whale on the horizon if we could get the exemption from winning this race,"

"Today was about getting His Highness Sheikh Mohammed a runner in the Melbourne Cup and we've achieved that.

"Now that he's exempt we can plot a path run him where we feel he's best suited and we're not chasing our tail with him.

"It's special to me but it's got to be business first and I'm just so proud for the team that we got it done.

"We've got options on the table and we will let the dust settle and the boys and I will come up with a good plan for him.

"I'm just excited to have a horse in the Cup, so it's a pretty special moment."

Avilius advances his record to 6 wins, 1 second and 2 thirds from 11 starts with earnings of $590,210.

Previously-trained by Andre Fabre, Avilius (GB) won a 2400m maiden at Chantilly and the Listed Prix de Suresnes (2000m) at Maisons-Laffitte last April. He also owns placing in the Group II Prix Eugene Adam and the Group II Prix Guillaume d'Ornano.

He landed in Australia in April and was gelded before being sent to continue his career under James Cummings.

A brother to Group II Prix Guillaume d'Ornano winner Saint Baudolino, Avilius is out of the winning Sunday Silence mare Alessandria whose dam Tereshkova (Mr Prospector) is a sister to Group 1 Middle Park Stakes winner and one season shuttler Lycius (USA).