The 2013 Melbourne Cup lead-up plans for European stayer Mount Athos have been changed with the Goodwood Cup (3219m) on Thursday set to be his next race start.
Trainer Luca Cumani told Racing Victoria earlier in the month that the Glorious Stakes (2414m) or Group 3 Geoffrey Freer Stakes (2670m) was likely to be the next target for Mount Athos but the leading trainer revealed on his website that he may take the opportunity to run the Montjeu gelding in a race over a similar distance as the Melbourne Cup (3200m).
“It was originally the idea that he would run next in the Geoffrey Freer at Newbury but we are steering now more towards the Goodwood Cup for the reason that the staying division isn’t strong right now and of all the staying Cup races the one at Goodwood places least emphasis on stamina,” the leading trainer wrote on his website.
Cumani is committed to bringing Mount Athos back to Australia for the Melbourne Cup as he chases his first victory in the race after finishing second with Purple Moon in 2007 and Bauer in 2008.
Mount Athos was the best backed runner in the lead-up to the Melbourne Cup last year and flew home in the final stages of the race to finish fifth behind Green Moon.
Brown Panther is also set to contest the Goodwood Cup and connections have indicated that a trip to Australia for ‘the race that stops a nation’ could be on the cards if he performs well on Thursday and in the Irish St Leger (2816) at Curragh in September.
Godolphin stayers Colour Vision and Cavalryman, who finished twelfth in the Melbourne Cup last year, have been nominated to contest the Goodwood Cup and Racing Victoria’s International Recruitment Officer Leigh Jordon told AAP in May that he is hopeful both stayers will come to Australia for both the Melbourne Cup and 2013 Caulfield Cup (2400m).