AAP Horse Racing

Avilius right on track for Cox Plate test

By AAP Newswire

Before being given the final tick of approval for the Cox Plate, Godolphin's Avilius has been given a thorough going over after a crucial gallop at Flemington.

Avilius was required to gallop in front of Racing Victoria stewards and pass a veterinary examination after blood was found in a nostril after a work-out at The Valley on Saturday morning.

Trainer James Cummings said the gelding, fourth in last year's Cox Plate behind Winx, had galloped well, pulled up well and was ready to tackle Saturday's $5 million race.

"We take all our precautions and do our checks and measures and the horse is a happy and healthy horse," Cummings said.

"Most importantly I was confident in him after the way he pulled up from the gallop and that gives me the conviction to proceed."

Cummings described Saturday's aftermath a hiccup and not something he will dwell on after Avilius passed Tuesday's fitness test.

"He galloped and has proceeded as he normally would," Cummings said.

"We've followed the protocols and obeyed the rules to the letter of the law as we all should.

"The horse galloped well and pulled up well and is in really good order and we feel like he's ready to go and we're pleased with the preparation he's had for the Cox Plate."

Cummings said he would monitor the horse before deciding if Avilius needed another work-out closer to Saturday's 2040m-race.

"He's got a tremendous appetite and 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 is fit and ready in my opinion," Cummings said.

Cummings would like to see the forecast rain arrive for Avilius who appreciates getting his toe into the ground.

Avilius will be ridden by Kerrin McEvoy from barrier seven.