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Mount Athos (Jamie Spencer) wins the Ormonde Stakes

Mount Athos: bolted up in last year's Ormonde Stakes

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

Mount Athos set to start on Melbourne Cup trail

MARWAN KOUKASH ticked off one of his big targets for 2014 when Suegioo won Wednesday's Chester Cup and the owner aims to get another started in a similar way with Emirates Melbourne Cup hope Mount Athos, who runs at Chester on Friday.

Like Suegioo, Mount Athos is trained by Marco Botti and bids to win the Group 3 Boodles Diamond Ormonde Stakes for the second year running.

After winning the Chester Cup, Koukash said that race and the Melbourne Cup, which Mount Athos has been third and fifth in for the last two years, are the ones he most wants to win every year.

He has landed the prestigious Chester prize three times now, but is still chasing success at Flemington.

"I am missing Melbourne big time. Mount Athos will be there and at least one other," he said after Suegioo's triumph.

Mount Athos won last year's Ormonde by nine lengths, but could find things tougher with Royal Ascot winner Hillstar and Melbourne Cup eighth Brown Panther in opposition on Friday.

"He's in good form and handles Chester," said Botti, speaking to At The Races. "He's going into the race with a good chance and I'm very hopeful."

Racing Victoria's international recruitment officer Leigh Jordon will be keeping a close eye on the race.

He said: "This year's field looks stronger than what he defeated last year but I think he should go very close and hopefully a solid performance can pave the way for another trip to Australia."

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