Expert European trainer Luca Cumani has confirmed that the next start for his 2011 Melbourne Cup-bound galloper Drunken Sailor will be at the historic Goodwood Racecourse this Saturday before they enter quarantine.
The Newmarket-based Cumani is one of the world’s most prolific and successful horseman having prepared over 50 Group One winners across 10 countries.
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A win the iconic ‘race that stops a nation’, however, has so far escaped Cumani who has twice been beaten into second preparing Melbourne Cup second placegetters Bauer (2008) and Purple Moon (2007).
This year he has a contingent of up to five horses in preparation to travel down under for a stint at the $6 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m), the showcase spring showdown to run as Flemington Race 7 on Tuesday November 1, 2011.
Cumani has continued to tip his Tendulkar six-year-old Drunken Sailor as a genuine Melbourne Cup contender since their impressive seven length success in the Listed Aston Park Stakes (2670m) back in May.
Last start Drunken Sailor further ignited Cumani’s spring carnival hopes by beating the fellow Melbourne Cup nominee Harris Tweed in the Group 3 Glorious Goodwood Stakes (2414m) back on July 29.
It is the Goodwood that Cumani is again eyeing off for Drunken Sailor’s resuming run this weekend.
Alternatively Drunken Sailor may race first-up at Windsor this Saturday, but Cumani is leaning towards to Goodwood.
“It’s likely he’ll go to Goodwood,” Cumani said.
“He has won twice there and this will be his last race before he goes into quarantine.”
Twelve months ago the galloper contested the Listed Goodwood Windflower March Stakes (2816m) in late August, winning the race and earning a shot at the Melbourne Spring Carnival riches.
After travelling to Australia, Drunken Sailor eventually missed out on a Cups bid and was balloted out of the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups after finishing a distant 11th to subsequent Melbourne Cup winner Americain in the Group 3 Geelong Cup (2406m).
Cumani gave them one final start on Australian soil, but it was another disappointing finish with Drunken Sailor running 10th behind Moudre in the Group 3 Queen’s Cup (2600m) at Flemington on Emirates Stakes Day.
This year, having shown nice improvement over the last year, Cumani is confident that Drunken Sailor can get into the field for the $2.5 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 15 before their grand final in the Melbourne Cup 2011.
“He’s in good form,” Cumani said.
“We missed the cut last year but this time I’m assured he’s in.”
Other horses on the Melbourne Cup trail for Cumani include his 2008 Melbourne Cup runner-up Bauer and Manigahr.
Drunken Sailor is rated a $51 chance in the Luxbet Caulfield Cup odds and is paying a generous $41 to become the 2011 Melbourne Cup winner.
Manighar is the shortest-priced of Cumani’s Cup hopefuls paying $35 in the Melbourne Cup futures betting after they finished a credible fourth behind Jukebox Jury in the Group 2 Darley Prix Kergorlay (3016m) last week, a race reigning Melbourne Cup winner Americain finished a distant 10th in.
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