Top British-based hoop Ryan Moore will be making the trip to Victoria this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival having been booked to partner with current 2012 Melbourne Cup favourite Mount Athos in the ‘race that stops a nation’.
The Luca Cumani-trained Montjeu gelding Mount Athos is currently sitting top of the Melbourne Cup odds at bookmaker.com.au paying $10 to win the $6.2 million, two-million handicap at Flemington Racecourse on Tuesday November 6, 2012.
A winner of seven of their 20 career starts to date Mount Athos is undefeated this year having won their last three races back home in emphatic style.
Their most recent success was by three and a half lengths carrying 59kg to victory in the Group 3 Geoffrey Freer Stakes (2670m) at Newbury when Moore partnered with them for the first time.
Champion jockey Moore, who is yet to ride in Australia, has since been secured to reunite with the horse for the 2012 Melbourne Cup with the horse’s owner Dr Marwan Koukash pleased with their performance in the Geoffrey Freer.
Moore’s record is an impressive one as he boasts Group 1 victories across seven countries including the UK, Germany, Italy, the USA and Hong Kong.
The top line horse of his career has been the Ed Dunlop-trained Snow Fairy who he has ridden to six Group 1 triumphs including the 2010 Hong Kong Cup and most recently the Prix Jean Romanet in France on August 19 this year.
Also among Moore’s Group 1 contingent is former Aussie superstar and dual Cox Plate winner So You Think who he rode to a big four and a half length triumph over Campanologist in the Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup (2112m) at The Curragh in Ireland in May last year.
“It’ll be terrific to have Ryan down here,” Racing Victoria’s international talent scout Leigh Jordon said on Friday morning.
While it will be the first time Moore rides in Australia it isn’t the first time he has had the chance to having turned down a number of previous offers to run in the Melbourne Cup including the mount on subsequent runner-up Red Cadeaux last year.
“I know he had a chance to ride Red Cadeaux last year but didn’t,” Jordon said.
“He’s had a couple of offers over the years but has decided not to take them and this is the one he’s decided to come with.”
Mount Athos meanwhile has winning form in the UK up to 2816m and were competitive over 3621m in a handicap at Newmarket in October last year when forced to carry a hefty 61.5kg.
Their excellent international record and genuine staying ability the Cumani galloper has been well supported in the post-nomination Melbourne Cup betting markets.
Assured of a start in the world’s richest handicap after the Melbourne Cup order of entry was released this week, Mount Athos sitting 20th in the ballot, they are also a well-weighted for Flemington’s most famous Race 7 having been allocated 54kg in the Melbourne Cup weights by Racing Victoria’s chief handicapper Greg Carpenter.
Currently in quaraninte in the UK along with 15 other Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival-bound horses, Mount Athos is scheduled to fly into Melbourne Sunday week, September 29.
They will be joined on the flight by three stablemates with last start March Stakes winner Quest For Peace ($26), Ibicenco ($41) and Arlington Million Stakes runner-up Afsare who is not listed in the current Melbourne Cup markets.
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