Avilius back on track after health scare

Champion trainer James Cummings has “no doubts” about Godolphin star Avilius’ health ahead of Saturday’s Cox Plate.

Avilius was passed fit on Tuesday to contest the $5m weight-for-age championship after galloping before Racing Victoria stewards at Flemington.

The multiple Group 1 winner sent a scare through the Blue Army camp last week after being found to have blood in one nostril following a track gallop.

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Avilius (left) has been cleared to start in the Cox Plate. Picture: AAPSource:AAP

Cummings was all smiles at the Valley on Tuesday after getting the green light from stewards.

“It’s always good to clear things up and clear the air, but the horse galloped well and pulled up in really good order, we feel like he’s ready to go and we're quite pleased with the preparation he’'s had for the Cox Plate,” Cummings said.

“We take all the precautions and do the checks and measures and the horse is a happy and healthy horse. Most importantly, I was confident in him after he pulled up from the gallop and that gives me the conviction to proceed.”

Avilius will jump from barrier six – the most successful alley in Cox Plate history with 11 past winners – should third emergency Gailo Chop, drawn the rails, not get a start.

The six year-old gelding won the Group 1 George Main (1600m) in Sydney two starts back before running on strongly to finish fourth in the Caulfield Stakes (2000m).

Cummings left the door ajar to give Avilius one more gallop before Saturday’s grand final.

“He's got a tremendous appetite so if I feel like doing another little bit with him later in the week I may do that but this horse has had the right training and he's fit and ready in my opinion,” Cummings said.

Trainer James Cummings would be happy for a bit of rain before the Cox Plate. Picture: AAPSource:AAP

And rain, as is forecast on Friday and Saturday, will only benefit the former European stayer with superstar jockey Kerrin McEvoy, still hunting a breakthrough Cox Plate win, booked to ride.

“There are a number of races to really chop up the ground a bit and when the horses are really getting their toe into it Avilius is well suited,” Cumming said.

“That will be perfect for our horse.”

THE FIELD

COX PLATE (2040m)

1. BLACK HEART BART L Smith B Rawiller (11) 59kg

2. AVILIUS J Cummings K McEvoy (7) 59kg

3. KLUGER T Takano T Berry (9) 59kg

4. HARLEM D & B Hayes & T Dabernig D Dunn (2) 59kg

5. HOMESMAN L Howley B Melham (16) 59kg

6. KINGS WILL DREAM C Waller H Bowman (17) 59kg

7. TE AKAU SHARK J Richards O Bosson (18) 59kg

8. DANCETERIA D Menuisier J Spencer (10) 59kg

9. LYS GRACIEUX Y Yahagi D Lane (15) 57kg

10. MAGIC WAND A O’Brien R Moore (3) 57kg

11. CAPE OF GOOD HOPE D & B Hayes & T Dabernig M Zahra (8) 56.5kg

12. MYSTIC JOURNEY A Trinder A Darmanin (6) 55.5kg

13. VERRY ELLEEGANT C Waller J McDonald (5) 55.5kg

14. CASTELVECCHIO R Litt C Williams (4) 49.5kg

15e. HUMIDOR C Maher & D Eustace B Shinn (14) 59kg

16e. MR QUICKIE P Stokes G Boss (12) 57.5kg

17e. GAILO CHOP M Williams D Oliver (1) 59kg

18e. DREAM CASTLE S Bin Suroor P Cosgrave (13) 59kg

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Originally published asAvilius back on track after health scare

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