The path one of the 2013 Melbourne Cup top fancies will take heading towards the world’s richest handicap on the first Tuesday of November has been reveled with England’s Luca Cumani announcing the lead-up campaign of Mount Athos.
Montjeu six-year-old Mount Athos contested last year’s $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at the famous Flemington Racecourse and will be back in 2013 looking for another shot at the ‘race that stops a nation’.
“It is very likely he will head to the Melbourne Cup again,” the Italian-born Cumani confirmed this week.
In their debut down under the talented gelding finished three and a half lengths away fifth to Green Moon in the Cup last Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival before their failed effort at Tokyo 19 days later when 12th to Gentildonna in the Group 1 Japan Cup (2413m).
Yet to win at elite level Mount Athos is a dual Group winner overseas, their most recent turf triumph coming first-up in May at Chester in the UK.
Resuming in the Group 3 Boodles Diamond Ormonde Stakes (2696m) the smart stayer burst into Melbourne Cup calculations for the end of the year with a blistering nine length victory over Mad Mooose.
They were outpaced in their last start however when backing-up on June 22 at Royal Ascot to run fifth behind the ill-fated Thomas Chippendale in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes (2414m) proving their best racing is done over 2600m and above.
“Ascot was a bit of a non-event for us as there was a faller in the race and the jockeys slowed it up as they were unsure what to do with the loose horse,” Cumani explained.
“The race then turned in to a sprint and we were not ideally positioned for that scenario.”
Their obvious liking for the long distance features has seen the bookies in Australia take no chances with them when it comes to futures Melbourne Cup betting, Mount Athos equal $12 second favourite in the pre-nomination markets.
Melbourne Cup odds are led by Puissance De Lune ($9), who three-time Melbourne Cup winning hoop Glen Boss has a very high opinion of, followed by Fiorente and Mount Athos.
Leading up to their second trip to Australia Cumani has confirmed Mount Athos will have two more runs in Britain including the Group 3 Geoffrey Freer Stakes (2670m) at Newbury on August 17 – a race they won last year before coming down under.
Their other run at home is scheduled as the Glorious Stakes at Goodwood a fortnight before.
His next race is likely to be the Glorious Stakes at Goodwood followed by the Geoffrey Freer, which he won last year.
“He went in to the Cup fresh last year and I think we will do a similar thing this time – we will use the same idea and keep him fresh after the Geoffrey Freer.”
Cumani is after is breakthrough Melbourne Cup win having come close with former runner-ups Bauer (2008) and Purple Moon (2007).
While there’s been talks of Cumani engaging the services of an Aussie hoop for Mount Athos’s Melbourne Cup bid the successful trainer said no decisions had been made jockey-wise at this stage.
“I have no idea who will ride – all options are open at this stage,” he said.
Equal Melbourne Cup second elect Fiorente meanwhile looks in ace form heading towards the spring after the Gai Waterhouse-trained Monsun gelding blitzed a Randwick trial on Friday morning.
Second in last year’s Melbourne Cup in their first ever run on Aussie soil the rising six-year-old was last seen putting in an excellent first-up effort in the autumn to finish third to All Too Hard in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m).
They galloped over 1400m this morning and caught the eye after traveling off the speed before responding to jockey Nash Rawiller on the straight to fly past their rivals including their other spring carnival bound stablemates Glencadam Gold, Carlton House and Michelangelo.
If successful on Tuesday November 3 Fiorente will became the first horse since the New Zealand-trained mare Empire Rose (1988) to win the Melbourne Cup having finished the bridesmaid the previous season.
Now is the time to place those early Melbourne Cup bets in the ante-post markets before prices firm over the coming months.
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