A poor barrier may have cost Mount Athos in the Melbourne Cup (3200m) but the luck of connections changed this afternoon when the Montjeu gelding drew ideally at the 2013 Hong Kong Vase barrier draw.
Mount Athos was forced to do a great deal of work early in the Melbourne Cup, from his wide gate, and fought home bravely to finish third but will receive a dream run from barrier six in the Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin this weekend.
Francesca Cumani, the daughter of Mount Athos’s trainer Luca Cumani, was delighted with the barrier draw and took to Twitter to express her delight.
“Good draw for Luca Cumani, Mount Athos in 6 for the G1 Hong Kong Vase on Sunday,” Cumani posted.
Mount Athos had a tough run in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) on November 5 but Charlie Henson, who has accompanied the gelding in both Australia and Hong Kong, told Thorough Media, that the six-year-old did not take long to recover from his second tilt over the famous two mile trip at Flemington.
“We arrived here basically eight days ago and it was a fifteen hour door-to-door trip from Werribee and he has settled in great,” Henson said.
“He has come out of it really great.
“It was a tough run but we have obviously had plenty of time from that to get him back and he recovered pretty quickly.
“It was a pretty tough effort and as Craig said he was all heart and guts in the last 300m.”
Mount Athos wasn’t the only leading contender that fared well in the 2013 Hong Kong Vase barrier draw; with clear favourite The Fugue drawing barrier two and Australian-owned Dandino set to jump from barrier five.
Red Cadeaux and Dunaden did not fare as well, drawing barriers eleven and twelve respectively, but Henson still believes that the only past winners of the Hong Kong Vase in the field will both be tough to beat on Sunday.
“If she turns up and runs a solid race I don’t think that any of us really have a chance,” Henson said about The Fugue.
“Obviously Red Cadeaux, we have another two and a half kilos plus the distance he beat us in the Melbourne Cup to make up and Dunaden showed last time in Japan that he is back to his best.
“It is going to be a very tough race but he comes here in good shape.”
Other key 2013 Hong Kong Vase barrier draws include: Melbourne Cup fourth placegetter Simenon (barrier four), Irish stayer Galileo Rock (barrier thirteen), German chance Seismos (barrier two) and John Moore-trained Dominant (barrier 14).