Quality import Avilius has bounced back from his Australian Cup defeat to land his first Group One win in the Ranvet Stakes at Rosehill.
After two impressive victories to start this campaign in Melbourne, Avilius was a short-priced favourite in the Group One Australian Cup at Flemington two weeks ago and loomed to win half-way up the home straight before finishing fifth.
Trainer James Cummings brought Avilius back to Sydney for Saturday's weight-for-age Ranvet (2000m) and under jockey Kerrin McEvoy the $4.40 favourite powered home in the heavy conditions from back in the field to defeat leader He's Eminent ($19) by 2-1/4-lengths.
New Zealand mare Danzdanzdance ($5) was another long neck away third.
“He's a super horse and that was a demonstration of the supreme turn of foot that he can exhibit,” Cummings said.
“He had a bit to turn around on his performance in the Australian Cup and we knew that, but he's had a fantastic fortnight.
“I'm just proud of the team and I'm just so impressed by the horse to come from such a difficult position and claim them and win with authority.
“That's the sort of weight-for-age promise that he demonstrated when he hit the racetrack in Australia last year and he's got up and won us a Group One today. We're thrilled for the horse.”
Avilius did his early racing in France before being sent to Cummings in Australia last year.
The gelding won his first four Australian starts last spring before finishing fourth in the Cox Plate and unplaced in the Melbourne Cup after striking interference early in that race.
The five-year-old, who has now won seven of his 10 Australian starts, could back-up next Saturday in the Group One Tancred Stakes (2400m) at Rosehill.
McEvoy had earlier steered The Autumn Sun to a Group One Rosehill Guineas win and said Avilius enjoyed getting back onto a softer surface.
Runner-up He's Eminent had not raced since August last year in England and gave a good sight in his first start of a Sydney campaign for his new trainer Sir Mark Todd, who believes he would have been better suited on firmer going.
He's Eminent, who raced as Eminent in Europe, actually had a win over Avilius in a Group Two race in France in 2017 and is scheduled to progress to the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick in three weeks.
“He ran a huge race,” Sir Mark said.
“We were praying for a better track. He has never run on ground like that so we really didn't know.”