Racing: Avienus on track for Railway Stakes

Avienus. Photo / Getty Images
Avienus. Photo / Getty Images

A pleasing track gallop has confirmed for trainer Mark Webb that Avienus is on track for the group one Railway Stakes in Perth on Saturday.

The 6-year-old mare had a stressful trip to Perth a week ago but has picked up well and had her final serious hit-out at Ascot yesterday ahead of the A$1 million ($1.3 million) feature over 1600m

"It wasn't hammer and tongs but it was nice work," Webb said.

"She went 1200m in evens and a working gallop the last 600m.

"That will probably do her now as her fitness levels are pretty good coming off her recent runs in Melbourne.

"She got a bit crook on the plane coming over but that was more due to circumstances of being delayed on the tarmac at Tullamarine for three hours.

"She has bounced back from that and things are pretty good."

Avienus firmed from $12 to $11 with TAB Sportsbet for the Railway after she drew gate 10 in the field of 16, plus two emergencies, yesterday.

"The two emergencies are inside her and if they don't run she will come into eight which is probably ideal," Webb said.

Local galloper Ranger eased marginally from $3.40 to $3.60 after he drew barrier six while second favourite Luckygray has gate 14 and eased from $5.50 to $6.

Cambridge visitor He's Remarkable, who will be ridden by Kerrin McEvoy, has the inside gate and firmed from $9.50 to $7.50.

Playing God has barrier nine and shares the third line of betting at $7.50.

Five-year-old Ranger has won three in a row this preparation including a two-length success last start in the group two Lee Steere Stakes (1400m) at Ascot.

However Avienus has been unable to win for more than a year.

Webb is hopeful that Craig Williams can help break her 15-race losing run in the Railway and bring up her sixth career win in 34 starts.

"It a big key having Craig on her," Webb said.

"It certainly gives you some confidence. He has ridden her several times and won on her so he knows her pretty well."

Avienus finished second to Descarado in the Caulfield Stakes (2000m) on October 8 and second last in the Cox Plate before storming home for fourth to Vintedge in the Matriarch Stakes (2000m) at Flemington.

She drops from 56.5kg to 53kg in the Railway, which convinced Webb to make the trip west.

"She has been running well without winning and is very nicely placed with that weight," Webb said.

VRC Oaks-winning trainer Robert Smerdon will make a foray into Asian racing this weekend with promising sprinter Eclair Mystic.

Smerdon's Hong Kong-owned Eclair Mystic is one of five overseas runners invited to run in November 18's Premier Cup in Macau.

The 1300m race carries A$250,000 in stakes and Eclair Mystic will be third-highest rated overseas runner in the race behind Hong Kong galloper Dynamic Blitz and Majestic Myles from the United Kingdom.

Smerdon, who trains under the Aquanita Racing banner, saddled up Mosheen to a nine-length VRC Oaks win last week. Seven Macau-trained horses and a runner from Singapore will line up.


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