Injury has ruled out last year’s Melbourne Cup third placegetter Mount Athos from returning down under this spring for a third shot at the world’s richest handicap at Victoria’s Flemington Racecourse.
Owner Marwan Koukash announced on Twitter on Friday that his Montjeu seven-year-old would be unable to make the trip to Australia this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival where they were to target the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) on the first Tuesday of November.
“Unfortunately Mount Athos will be out for the rest of the season and will not make the Melbourne Cup,” he tweeted.
The gelding ran an eye-catching third last year behind the Gai Waterhouse-trained winner Fiorente in the Melbourne Cup when prepared by Luca Cumani and was fifth to Green Moon in the 2012 edition of the ‘race that stops a nation’.
Now prepared at Newmarket by Marco Botti, they looked on track for another shot at the two mile classic earlier this year when winning the Listed JLT Aston Park Stakes (2670m) three runs into their 2014 preparation at Newbury in May.
However a setback suffered in training will see them miss out on a Melbourne Cup bid this spring, Mount Athos removed from the Ladbrokes.com.au markets for the November 4 classic.
Their $26 price to also win this year’s $3 million Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 18 has also been taken down by Ladbrokes.
In a blow to connections the horse was found to have inflammation to their suspensory ligament and will be unable to race for the remainder of the season.
“He’s going to be out for the rest of the season which is a shame, but we have to accept he’s an older horse and there’s some wear and tear,” Botti told the Racing Post.
“His suspensory [ligament] was quite inflamed and we felt, especially with travelling abroad, it would have been unfair to carry on so we’ll give him time off.”
Botti said they were in no rush to decide what the future held for Mount Athos, who has won nine of their 31 career starts for over $1 million in prizemoney, but that the final call would be made by Koukash.
“He’s done really well for Mr Koukash and us and has been a good servant,” he said.
“Whether he comes back next season it will be the owner’s decision.”
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