Newmarket trainer Luca Cumani has confirmed that Mount Athos will return to Australia for a second attempt to win the Group 1 $6.2m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 5.
Mount Athhos was sent out one of the top fancies in last year’s Cup but after a wide run battled on to finish fifth to the Robert Hickmott trained Green Moon.
“After several close runs in that race I still believe Mount Athos may be the horse to finally get me in the winner’s enclosure at Flemington,” Cumani told the racingpost.com.
“I’m considering running him next in the March Stakes at Goodwood this weekend, but basically it’s all systems go for another bid for the Cup.”
The top international trainer has made several visits down under and thought he had the Cup won in 2008 with Bauer after running second the previous the year with Purple Moon.
Bauer went across the line locked together with the Bart Cummings trained Viewed with the Cups King getting the judge’s decision in one of the closest of finishes in the great race.
And that disappointment of being beaten in a tight finish followed Purple Moon’s second to the Efficient the year before.
“Bauer’s was disappointing because there was a hope until we heard the announcement. The way he was finishing, probably another stride he would have been in front,” Cumani said.
Cumani is expecting Mount Athos to run a better race at Goodwood on Saturday in the Listed £40,000 March Stakes (1 mile 6 furlongs) after getting beaten eight and three quarter lengths when eighth to Brown Panther in the Group 2 £100,000 Artemis Goodwood Cup (2 miles) on August 1.
The tough English stayer was at the top of his game scoring at his first run since November last year by nine lengths in the Group 3 £75,000 Boodles Diamond Ormonde Stakes (1 mile, 5 ½ furlongs) at Chester, England, on May 10.
Mount Athos is currently a $21 chance in this year’s Melbourne Cup market which sees last Saturday’s P. B. Lawrence Stakes winner Puissance De Lune the $5.50 favourite with last year’s runner up Fiorente at $11 and Lloyd Williams high profile import Sea Moon at $13 just ahead of Brown Panther at $14.