Trainer Marco Botti has revealed that the 2014 Caulfield Cup is on the agenda for two-time Melbourne Cup runner Mount Athos.
Mount Athos has contested the past two editions of the Melbourne Cup, finishing fifth behind Green Moon in 2012 and third behind Fiorente in 2013, but has not had any race starts in Australia in the lead-up to ‘the race that stops a nation’.
Botti told Attheraces.com that the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) was still the major goal for Mount Athos and said that the Montjeu gelding may have a break following his win in the Listed Aston Park Stakes at Newbury on Saturday before returning to the races in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) during the 2014 Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
“We don’t really have a plan in mind as far as his next race is concerned,” Botti said.
“Having spoken to (owner) Dr Koukash, the priority is to go for the Melbourne Cup and we will work backwards from there.
“In my opinion, I think he should have one more race before the Melbourne Cup and we should keep him fresh over the summer.
“This year we are considering running him in the Caulfield Cup beforehand.
“He ran in Hong Kong in December, then he went to Dubai and then won on Saturday.
“It’s a long year if he is going to Australia, so he needs to have a break; he doesn’t need to show any more and we know what he can do.
“He could run somewhere at the end of August or early September, but we’ll see.”
Mount Athos joined the Botti stable after he finished a disappointing ninth in the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase (2400m) in December last year and made his debut for his new stable with a solid third in the Group 2 Dubai City Of Gold (2410m) at Meydan on March 8.
The seven-year-old was far from disgraced against an extremely strong field, including Gentildonna and Cirrus Des Aigles, in the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic (2410m), but recorded his first race win for over a year when he produced a professional performance in the Aston Park Stakes last weekend.
Mount Athos is currently available at 2014 Melbourne Cup odds of $21; with Sydney Cup winner The Offer favourite from Dandino ($21), Fenomeno ($21) and Foundry ($21).