French import Avilius makes an impressive Australian debut at Randwick yesterday.
A slow and steady approach with French import Avilius has paid off with the gelding making an impressive winning debut at Randwick after almost a year away from the track.
Formerly trained by Andre Fabre, Avilius is now with Godolphin's head Australian trainer James Cummings. He had two barrier trials to prepare for his first Australian start yesterday in the Tony Crawford Handicap over 1600 metres, a distance considered to be short of his best.
The gelding's form in France includes a second to one of England's best, Cracksman, in the Gr. 2 Prix Neil last September.
Ridden by Glyn Schofield, Avilius ($6) came from second last to overpower Dagny ($4.60) and win by a neck, covering his last 600 metres in 32.66 seconds.
"His form in Europe says he wants further," Schofield said, "but that performance was was impressive.
"He hasn't raced for a long time but he wasn't fretting. He wasn't stressed. He didn't worry about anything.
"He wanted to lay in when I'm sure he was getting a little bit tired towards the finish but he showed a great turn of speed.
"He beat some horses that have been racing strongly and he carried the big weight (59.5kg) and went straight past them."
Cummings said the Gr. 3 Premiers Cup over 1900 metreswould be the next target for the five-year-old son of Pivotal.