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Relaxed Cumani back on Cup trail

Fri, 02 November 2012

Luca Cumani has been repeating a well-chosen phrase in Australia this week as he is asked whether this will finally be his year in the Emirates Melbourne Cup.

While his daughter, Francesca, enjoys almost A-list celebrity status in the country and is a presenter on national television during the Spring Carnival, Cumani himself is similarly revered for his prowess as a trainer.

Galling seconds with Purple Moon and Bauer in 2007 and 2008 respectively have only spurred the Italian on further, usually marking out potential Cup candidates early in the year and campaigning them accordingly.

He would appear to have a particularly strong hand this time around through Mount Athos and Quest For Peace, who runs as My Quest For Peace in Australia.

"I always say that when it comes to women and horses, you can never be confident, only hopeful for the best," said Cumani.

As Cumani has learned through painful experience, the horses can be ready to start in their strongest shape but the most careful of plans can never take into account the luck required in the absurdly competitive 24-horse showdown.

Owner Dr Marwan Koukash has arrived in Melbourne to see Mount Athos, one of the big-race favourites after winning all three starts for Cumani in two handicaps and the Geoffrey Freer at Newbury.

But My Quest For Peace went notably well in his final piece of work at the Werribee quarantine centre this week and has the benefit of a recent run when fifth to Dunaden in the Caufield Cup.

"Mount Athos is a bit of an unknown quantity, a bit of a dark horse slipping in under the radar. He has probably improved with age, as most of us do. If you look at his profile, he won first time out for me, then he didn't run again for two months. He likes to run fresh and he seems happy and well," Cumani said.

Nor does the trainer worry about Mount Athos' jockey Ryan Moore never having ridden in the country before, saying: "Ryan knows the horse and he's a young guy who's very cool and won't be fazed. He's very, very committed."