Mount Athos can fire an early Melbourne Cup warning on Saturday when the British stayer steps out at Royal Ascot in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes (2400m).
Fifth in Australia’s biggest race last year, trainer Luca Cumani has already stated his intentions to make a return trip to Australia.
The classy stayer is considered one of the top fancies for this year’s Melbourne Cup and began his 2013 British campaign in convincing fashion last month.
He may have only faced five rivals but the son of Montjeu was a class above in the Group 3 Ormonde Stakes at Chester, taking no prisoners when dishing out a nine-length walloping.
That performance has Cumani confident heading into this weekend’s second-up test, with the high profile trainer hoping the hit-out will propel him towards success in the Group 1 King George (2400m) at Ascot in July.
“He looks to have a solid chance with questions surrounding either the well-being or likely participation of his closest form rivals Hunter’s Light and Dunaden,” Cumani said on his website.
“Hopefully his performance will go some way to justifying our decision this week to give him an entry for the King George at Ascot at the end of next month.”
The Royal Ascot carnival kicks off on Tuesday, with plenty of interest on the opening day.
The opening race of the carnival, the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes, features globetrotting superstar Animal Kingdom who is chasing a second straight win after claiming the Dubai World Cup in March.
Also on day one is the King’s Stand Stakes where Australian colt Shamexpress is chasing an upset win over top South African sprinter Shea Shea.