Leading English trainer Luca Cumani is looking towards the 2012 Melbourne Cup and eyeing the famous two mile feature as a target for his in-form stayer Mount Athos after they ran away with another win on the weekend.
Five-year-old Montjeu stallion Mount Athos is the latest international raider set to travel down under this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival for a shot at the iconic $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on Tuesday November 6, 2012.
After a first-up win at Newmarket back in May Mount Athos was back in the winners’ stall on Sunday morning (AEST) taking out the Listed John Smith’s Silver Cup (2816m) at York.
Carrying a hefty 63.5kg, an astonishing 11.5kg more that race favourite Suraji, to victory with Kieren Fallon in the saddle Mount Athos made a mess of their Silver Cup rivals winning by a minimum margin of four lengths, tongues a-wagging over their Melbourne Cup 2012 claims.
Mount Athos’ regular rider Jamie Spencer, in America for an earlier booking on the day of the Silver Cup win, was first to get the Melbourne Cup talk going when he tweeted about the horse’s weekend performance.
“Landed in JFK to hear that Mount Athos is still well on target for the Melbourne Cup after an easy York win,” he said.
A lightweight chance heading towards the Melbourne Cup there’s plenty to like about Mount Athos for the ‘race that stops a nation’ including their great turn of foot, upside and the Cumani factor.
Early Melbourne Cup nominations and weights are due out in September with Mount Athos expected to receive no more than 54kg, a huge drop back from the staggering 63.5kg weight they carried to victory at York.
Cumani is expected to run Mount Athos in the $250,000 Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m) on October 24 for their debut race down under, a race that has produced the past two Melbourne Cup winners with Americain (2010) and Dunaden (2011) both taking out the double.
If Mount Athos does make the Melbourne Cup field Cumani will be vying for his maiden win in the world’s richest handicap.
He has come oh so close twice before with Purple Moon (2007) running a length away second to Efficient, and the popular grey galloper Bauer (2008) coming within a nose of the Melbourne Cup winners stall when runner-up to Viewed.
Mount Athos is yet to be added to the Melbourne Cup odds at bookies in Australia but is expected to open towards the top of the markets.
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