Melbourne Cup fancy Mount Athos is still scheduled to travel down under to Melbourne for a second crack at Australia’s greatest race even after being beaten in the Listed £40,000 March Stakes (1 mile 6 furlongs) at Goodwood in England on Saturday.
The Luca Cumani trainer stayer went down in a photo finish to the William Haggas trained Harris Tweed but the news out of the Bedford House Stables is that Mount Athos will still be headed towards the Group 1 $6.2m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 5.
Mount Athos had been struggling of late and was unplaced at his two previous starts when fifth in the Group 2 £200,000 Hardwicke Stakes (1 mile 4 furlongs) at Royal Ascot on June 22 then was a well beaten eighth in the Group 2 £100,000 Artemis Goodwood Cup (2 miles) at Goodwood on August 1.
Cumani’s wife Sara was on hand at Goodwood to watch the March Stakes and confirmed the trip was still on after Mount Athos resurrected some of his customary fight making up many lengths over the final furlong.
“I still don’t think this is his track and the ground wasn’t ideal but he has run better than he did the last two times,” Sara Cumani sad.
“Depending on the owner, I think the plan’s still to go to Melbourne. I don’t think he’ll run again as he likes his races spaced out.
“He’ll fly out in the second wave of horses and I believe he’ll enter quarantine on September 26th.”
Mount Athos will follow last year’s pattern and not have another run before the first Tuesday in November.
Last year the Montjeu six year old was a clear winner over Brown Panther in the Group 3 £55,000 Betfred “The Bonus King” Geoffrey Freer Stakes (1 mile 5 ½ furlongs) at Newbury on August 18 then went straight into the Melbourne Cup without another lead up run.
And after having a troubled run, Mount Athos made up some ground down the Flemington straight to finish fifth to Green Moon in the Melbourne Cup.
Cumani is more determined than ever to win the Melbourne Cup after going so close on two occasions with Purple Moon and Bauer.
Purple Moon ran a gallant race in 2007 to be runner up to Efficient then the following year Cumani thought he had the Cup won before the judge gave the nod to the Bart Cummings trained Viewed in one of the closest finishes in Melbourne Cup history.
Mount Athos is currently $21 chance in early Melbourne Cup markets which sees Darren Weir’s grey import Puissance De Lune the ruling favourite at $6.50.
The Gai Waterhouse trained Fiorente is the second pick at $11 just in front of Lloyd Williams’ high profile import Sea Moon at $13 with English stayer Brown Panther at $14.