LUCA CUMANI has been a regular visitor to Australia in his quest to lift the Melbourne Cup, and knows not to get too confident about his chances of finally claiming the grand prize on Tuesday.
Purple Moon and Bauer have filled the stall next to the winner in 2007 and 2008, which has further fuelled the Newmarket trainer’s passion for Australia’s biggest prize.
He has Mount Athos and My Quest For Peace as confirmed runners in the Melbourne Cup, and is hoping it will be seventh time lucky in Melbourne. But he is not foolish enough to predict a victory.
”I always say that with horses and women I’m never confident, just hopeful,” Cumani said. ”On a nought to 10 scale, I probably say I’m a six out of 10 but I’m never a confident person.”
Mount Athos was backed in to favourite for the Melbourne Cup after his third win under Cumani’s care, but has drifted to be third favourite at $8.50 behind French raiders Americain and Dunaden.
Cumani deflected any doubts about the fitness of Mount Athos despite not having raced since his 3½-length win in the Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury on August 18.
”If you go through his form since he joined me, he’s won all three of them with big gaps in between each race. He’s a horse that likes to run fresh,” Cumani said. ”He’s been training regularly, just the same as normal. All he’s missed out on is racing.”
Mount Athos has scored three romping wins for Cumani, starting with a handicap in May. He stepped up to the listed Silver Cup at York in July and produced a devastating burst to win by four lengths. It is enough to have Cumani comparing Mount Athos’s attributes to those of Purple Moon, which beat home all but Efficient on the first Tuesday in November in 2007.
”He has a good turn of foot, which is exactly what you need,” he said. ”You need the ability to see out the 3200 metres, the ability to settle well and get a good position to be handy and responsive to the jockey and then an ability to quicken over the last 800m.”
While Mount Athos has been quietly going about his business at Werribee, My Quest For Peace was one of the only on-pacers to keep going in the Caulfield Cup, in which he finished fifth.
Mount Athos and My Quest For Peace had a serious hit-out in front of Cumani, who seemed pleased with what he saw, and said the warmer weather had brought out the best in them.
“They left Newmarket in very good shape, and they are in very good shape here,” he said. “Horses like heat. Like humans, we prefer to be in warm weather than cold weather, and I always find with horses when they go to warmer weather, they thrive.”
When asked why he kept coming back in pursuit of the Melbourne Cup, Cumani’s answer was simple: ”I’m a glutton for punishment.”
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.