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Mount Athos

Mount Athos finished fifth in last year's Melbourne Cup for Luca Cumani

  PICTURE: John Grossick (  

Cumani backs Athos for Melbourne Cup glory

MOUNT ATHOS will bid to make amends for defeat in last year's Melbourne Cup when he makes a return visit to Flemington later this year.

Luca Cumani's six-year-old was beaten by little more than three lengths into fifth last November, while not enjoying the best fortune in running, and the trainer has not lost any of his faith in the horse since.

A trip to Goodwood this weekend could be the springboard for another mission Down Under for Dr Marwan Koukash's Montjeu gelding.

"He had a fantastic season when he moved to us in 2012, winning three on the bounce, including the Group 3 Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury, and then finishing an unlucky-in-running fifth in the Melbourne Cup," said Cumani.

"After several close runs in that race I still believe Mount Athos may be the horse to finally get me in the winner's enclosure at Flemington.

"I'm considering running him next in the March Stakes at Goodwood this weekend, but basically it's all systems go for another bid for the Cup."

Closer to home, Newmarket-based Cumani revealed he is hopeful of a big run from his lightly-raced three-year-old Havana Cooler in Saturday's Betfred Melrose Stakes at York.

He said: "He was quite backward last season but we managed to get one run into him in a backend Newmarket maiden where he surprised us in finishing second of 11 over a mile.

"We took our time with him and he made a winning reappearance at Ripon over a mile and a quarter in April. Again we didn't rush him and almost three months later he made it two from two this year with victory in a 1m4f handicap at Newmarket.

"He was a fast-closing third on his latest run at Goodwood and I expect him to go well this week. There is certainly more improvement to come."

Read more of the great trainer's thoughts ahead of York's Ebor meeting in this week's Racing and Football Outlook.

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