While most European trainers will welcome the forecast rain on Melbourne Cup day, Newmarket trainer Luca Cumani is praying that the weather bureau is wrong.
Cumani is searching for his first win in the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on Tuesday giving his two runners Mount Athos and My Quest For Peacea great chance of delivering a winning result on a good racing surface.
“Both my horses like fast ground,” Cumani said.
Cumani’s luck was in at the barrier draw at Flemington after the last race on Saturday with Mount Athos coming up with eight while My Quest For Peace drew the coveted number one gate.
And he is hoping his luck continues until next Tuesday and the rain stays away giving his two runners the chance to collect the Melbourne Cup trophy after nearly getting his hands on it with seconds on two occasions.
Cumani thought he had the Cup in 2008 when 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 the 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 admits that he is engrossed in Australia’s greatest race and can’t wait to get his hands on the Cup.
“I was certainly enthralled by it. The moment you participate once, you want to come back,” Cumani said.
“I’d like a Melbourne Cup to my name.”
Cumani had two runners in last year’s Cup with Manighar ridden by Damien Oliver finishing fifth to Dunaden and Drunken Sailor with Dwayne Dunn ending up in twelfth spot and both gallopers have since been transferred to Australian trainers with great success.
Cumani was happy to draw barrier eight for Mount Athos who is coming off three wins in England, the latest in the Group 3 £55,000 Betfred “The Bonus King” Geoffrey Freer Stakes (1 mile 5 ½ furlongs) at Newbury on August 18.
“Eight is great,” declared Cumani.
“When I was asked what draw I would like for Mount Athos, I said between eight and 12,” Cumani said.
“It was quite funny, when Terry Bailey (RVL chief stewards) was arranging all the miniature cups for the barrier draw, I went up to him and said which one is eight.
“Sure enough, we got eight.”
Cumani will discuss race tactics with jockey Ryan Moore when the top English rider arrives in Melbourne on Monday but knows he is going to get a good run in the twenty-four horse field.
“We won’t be too close to the lead and we won’t be too far either. He’s a very versatile horse, You can put him wherever you like,” Cumani said.
Cumani is also happy with the way My Quest For Peace is racing and was satisfied with the five year old’s fifth to Dunaden in the Group 1 $2.5m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 20.
My Quest For Peace was a two time winner at Goodwood in England over 2400m and 2800m in August before heading to Melbourne.
“He’s going to run a mighty race,” Cumani said.
“I’m very happy with My Quest For Peace’s quality of work and he seems to be in top form,” he said.
Mount Athos has maintained his spot near the top of the Melbourne Cup markets and is on the second line of betting with last year’s winner Dunaden at $7.50.
Americain holds down the top spot at $5.50 after drawing barrier twelve with Damien Oliver to ride while last year’s runner-up Red Cadaux is at $10.
My Quest For Peace is further out in the betting at $17.