Mount Athos is set to add some extra interest for Australian viewers at at the Royal Ascot Carnival, with the 2013 Melbourne Cup fancy to contest the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes (2400m) on Saturday.
High profile international trainer Luca Cumani has already confirmed the six-year-old will return for a second shot at the Melbourne Cup after running fifth last year.
The Montjeu gelding will be running second-up at Royal Ascot after delivering a nine-length drubbing in the Group 3 Ormonde Stakes at Chester last month.
Cumani always takes a strong team to Royal Ascot and is confident that the classy stayer can produce a big showing this weekend.
“He looks to have a solid chance with questions surrounding either the well-being or likely participation of his closest form rivals Hunter’s Light and Dunaden,” Cumani said on his website.
“Hopefully his performance will go some way to justifying our decision this week to give him an entry for the King George at Ascot at the end of next month.”
Last year the Hardwicke Stakes was won by Sea Moon who has been bought by Lloyd Williams to target this year’s Melbourne Cup.
Mount Athos is currently third favourite at $10 in the Melbourne Cup market, with Sea Moon just behind him at $11.
Early favourite for the $6 million staying test is grey import Puissance De Lune ($9) who is expected to follow in the footsteps of last year’s winner Green Moon and have a lead-up in the Cox Plate.
The Darren Weir-trained stayer is unbeaten at his last three starts including the Blamey Stakes in March, the same race Green Moon won in his only autumn start last year.
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