The world’s most successful Melbourne Cup trainer Bart Cummings is gearing up for another shot at the ‘race that stops a nation’ but German import Illo will not be among the maestro’s Melbourne Cup 2012 team.
Illo was a $20 fancy in last year’s $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) after running an eye-catching third to last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Americain first-up in the Moonee Valley Cup in October.
Come Melbourne Cup Day however Illo could only manage to finish 15 lengths away 19th to Dunaden, failing to handle their esteemed trainer with his incredible 13th Melbourne Cup victory.
The ‘Cups King’ Cummings, now 84, celebrated his first Melbourne Cup win with Light Fingers back in 1965 while his most recent champion in the world’s richest handicap was Viewed in 2008.
After a disappointing autumn, Illo’s best result from five starts being a second to fellow German import Lucas Cranach in the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on Blue Diamond Stakes Day in February, Cummings has decided not to set them on the Melbourne Cup 2012 path.
“He pulls too hard in staying races but I think in a fast-run mile (1600m) he wouldn’t pull as hard,” Cummings explained.
“He will be entered for all the big races and we’ll see what happens.
“But unless he learns to settle early in his races, he won’t be effective.
“He will start off in a sprint race in Melbourne later this month.”
Cummings will still have at least one horse in this year’s Melbourne Cup field, the event to run as Flemington Race 7 on Tuesday November 6, including former American stayer Sanagas winner of the 2011 Hollywood Turf Cup.
“He’s done well since he’s been here,” Cummings said of the son of Limitas.
“He will probably take a traditional path in the spring and start off in the 1400 metre race at Caulfield.”
That race is the $220,000 Group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 18.
Veteran Zabeel seven-year-old Precedence is also targeting the Melbourne Cup for Cummings for the third year on the trot.
Precedence’s first Melbourne Cup experience was an eighth to Americain in 2010 which came on the back of a Moonee Valley Cup victory.
They also ran in last year’s Cup but were a more distant 11th.
Last seen finishing seventh to Niwot in the Sydney Cup in April over the two miles, Cummings isn’t giving up on the Cup dream with Precedence just yet.
“This just might be his year,” he said.
Melbourne Cup 2012 nominations are due out on Tuesday September 4 and will be published right here at Races.com.au.
Pre-nomination Melbourne Cup odds are already open and going off at bookmaker.com.au with markets led by Duanden and Mount Athos at $19 each.
Precedence is a $121 roughie for Cummings while Sanagas is at a much shorter $34.