European stayer Mount Athos is still on track to contest the 2013 Melbourne Cup (3200m) despite finishing a disappointing eighth in the Goodwood Cup (3219m) in England overnight.
Mount Athos was ridden towards the tail of the field by jockey Jamie Spencer and was given very little chance to win, having far too much work to do in the final stages of the race, finishing almost nine lengths behind the winner Brown Panther.
The son of Montjeu looked as though he tired in the final 100 metres but, according to Racing Victoria International scout Leigh Jordon, Mount Athos’s owner Dr Marwan Koukash has blamed the poor ride for the less than stellar performance and said the six-year-old will still be returning to Australia.
“I have had contact with the owner overnight and he wasn’t overly happy with the ride,” Jordon told Racing HQ.
“In the Hardwicke when the horse ran fifth he wanted the horse to be more forward.
“When he won all his races in Europe last year he was either leading or on the pace and earlier this year when he won at Chester he led all the way.
“They want to look at changing his riding tactics so that he can be up on the pace.”
“Definitely look to see Mount Athos coming back this year and I’m glad to hear that they are pushing on.”
Mount Athos was the best backed runner in the lead-up to the 2012 Melbourne Cup but, just like last night in the Goodwood Cup, was ridden too far back in the field and could only run to finish fifth behind Green Moon.
The six-year-old gelding may not have another run before contesting the Melbourne Cup in November, with trainer Luca Cumani indicating last month that Mount Athos will likely head into the race fresh without a lead-up run in Australia.