The powerhouse Godolphin team is poised to play a major hand at Randwick with Avilius and Colette tackling the George Main Stakes and sprint star Bivouac making a much-anticipated return in The Shorts.
Triple Group One winner Avilius produced an eye-catching run when he resumed in the Chelmsford Stakes and the stable flag bearer looks spot-on to defend his George Main title on Saturday.
Trainer James Cummings said the team was delighted with the way Avilius had come through his first-up test where he dropped back from the outside gate before driving late to finish just behind the placings.
“We are really happy with the way the horse has been and no doubt he’s got a bit of improvement to come,” Cummings told Sky Thoroughbred Central.
“He probably peaked at the 100m first-up and that’s to be expected after giving them a lot of ground but it was good to see him attack the line like that.
“With natural improvement in a strong rendition of the George Main he’s capable of running a good race and it would be great to give him every opportunity to defend his title.”
Avilius and Australian Oaks winner Colette are among eight entries for the George Main, which include Group One winners Very Elleegant, Dreamforce, Kolding and Nettoyer who is also nominated for the Kingston Town Stakes.
Staying mare Colette looked in need of the run when she resumed over 1400m in the Tramway first-up but Cummings suggested 1600m will be more to her liking and is confident she can be competitive.
Gun sprinter Bivouac heads nominations for the Group Two The Shorts (1100m) and last season’s Golden Rose and Newmarket Handicap winner is primed for a big return.
“He’s done everything right and has come to hand beautifully. He’s strong and fit and looks ready to run a really good race.” Cummings said.
Nominations for this year’s edition also include Classique Legend, Ball Of Muscle, Jungle Edge, Eduardo and exciting New Zealand galloper Catalyst.
“He’s going to know he’s in a race as the nominations look deep but we have to be confident in our horse,” Cummings said.
“His training and his trials have been nothing short of superb and he should be ready to run well first-up, and that’s what we are looking to do.”
Godophin has yet to announce who will represent their slot in the $15 million Everest but if Bivouac performs to expectations, that decision may become increasingly easier to make.