One-time 2012 Melbourne Cup favourite Mount Athos is wound up and ready to go ahead of next Tuesday’s $6 million staying test where he will be having his first start since August.
The Luca Cumani-trained gelding is one of a number of international contenders who will go into the Melbourne Cup fresh and he has settled into Australian life well.
Cumani inspected the five-year-old at Werribee on Monday and said he is confident he is showing all the right signs to produce a strong performance on Cup day.
The high profile trainer said Mount Athos performs at this best when “raced sparingly” and has deliberately avoided giving him a lead-up run in Australia.
Now occupying the third line of betting at $8.00 behind previous winners Americain ($6.00) and Dunaden ($7.00), Mount Athos produced stunning form before arriving in Australia.
He produced three consecutive wins between May and August, with all of them coming at margins of 2 1/2 lengths or more.
His most impressive win was in the Group 3 Geoffrey Freer Stakes (2670m) which he won by 3 1/2 lengths ahead of Group 1 place-getter Brown Panther.
Cumani said there was no point “changing what has worked well” and that is the main reason for not giving the Montjeu gelding a lead-up run prior to the Melbourne Cup.
Mount Athos is one of two Luca Cumani-trained horses set to line up in the Cup, with My Quest For Peace also guaranteed of a start.
My Quest For Peace was well backed ahead of his first start in Australia when he finished fifth to Dunaden in the Melbourne Cup.
Despite being a $26.00 chance compared to the $8.00 Mount Athos, Cumani cannot split the pair heading into Tuesday’s race.
“I haven’t got a favourite, may the best horse win,” he said.