Top Newmarket trainer Luca Cumani will head to Japan with his unlucky Melbourne Cup runner Mount Athos in a bid to lift the international status of his top line stayer in the Group 1 US$6.5m Japan Cup (2400m) at Tokyo on November 25.
Mount Athos will join other international stayers Jakkalberry and Red Cadeaux after all three contested the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 6 won by the Robert Hickmott trained Green Moon.
Cumani was yet again left wondering after the Melbourne Cup after Mount Athos was caught three wide throughout the 3200m test but was still able to run home strongly to finish fifth with many racegoers agreeing that he should have finished closer.
While Jakkalberry also ran a mighty race to finish third with last year’s runner-up Red Cadeaux running into eighth spot.
Cumani believes the pressure will be off Mount Athos in Japan after arriving in Australia prior to the Melbourne Cup with a huge reputation created by wins at Newmarket, York and Newbury in England.
“Hopefully this Cup won’t come too soon for him after the other (Melbourne) Cup we won’t mention,” Cumani said.
“At least the pressure is off on this occasion seeing as we have little to lose with no general expectation that he will beat the likes of Orfevre.”
Orfevre is Japan’s local hero who will be trying to turn the tables on Solemia after the French mare scored a rousing win over the Japanese star in the Group 1 €4m QATAR Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe (1 mile 4 furlongs) at Longchamp, France on October 7.
Cumani left Australia and the Melbourne Spring Carnival on a winning note with Ibicenco taking out the Listed $150,000 Sportingbet Sandown Cup (3200m) at Sportingbet Sandown Park last Saturday.
Ibicenco was having his third Melbourne start and appreciated the step up to the 3200m of the Sandown Cup and looked the winner a long way out under a confident ride from Glen Boss.
“I thought I was on the best two miler in the race, there aren’t too many in it,” Boss said.
“It was pretty painless. They wanted me on the speed from the get go, but the first half a mile was reasonably solid while they all got their spots.”
“Once I got to the 1400m mark or at the crossing about the mile the tempo slowed and then they got slower as they went up the hill as you would naturally expect. I just popped him out and let him have his head and he cruised up the hill off the bridle.’
“Once we got to the 1000m it was all over, he really got on the bridle and it was pretty painless from that point.”
Melbourne’s leading trainer Peter Moody will now take over from Cumani and after giving the five year a short break will prepare him for the Group 1 $500,000 Schweppes Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick in the Autumn.
Australia will be represented in the Japan Cup with Craig Williams regaining the ride on local star Rulership who ran second for the top Melbourne jockey behind Orfevre two starts back in the Group 1 US$3.437m Takarazuka Kinen (2200m) at Hanshin on June 24.
Rulership since has finished third to Eishin Flash in the Group 1 US$3.437m Tenno Sho (Autumn) (2000m) at Tokyo on October 28 but did have Group 1 success back in April taking out the HK$14m The Audemars Piguet QEII Cup (2000m) at Sha Tin on April 29 three starts back.