Cumani praises Cup rivals

English trainer Luca Cumani agrees his Melbourne Cup hope Mount Athos has arrived in Australia for his second Melbourne Cup in at least the same form as a year ago when he finished a brave fifth.

But in the way that trainers do, Cumani is happier to give his opposition a boost than to talk up his own horse.

And the horse he places at the top of the list is the 2011 Cup winner Dunaden who is on his third trip to Melbourne having last year added the Caulfield Cup to his record.

“I saw that Dunaden is at $25 – I think that’s crazy,” Cumani said.

“For a horse that’s won a Melbourne Cup and a Caulfield Cup it’s a bit of an insult.”

Following his Caulfield Cup win Dunaden went out favourite in his second Melbourne Cup attempt last year and finished 14th.

He hasn’t won another race since but a couple of placings in good races mid-year keep him under notice.

And there is also the Melbourne factor with the French stayer.

“He’s just as good as he’s always been and everyone knows he gets better when he comes here,” Cumani said.

Cumani is also keen on the prospects of the French filly Verema and says Red Cadeaux can’t be ruled out in his third attempt on the Cup.

And neither can Mount Athos, the equal second favourite for the Flemington race.

Mount Athos is generally acknowledged as the unlucky runner in last year’s Cup and according to Cumani his last run before leaving England suggested he boarded his flight to Melbourne in at least the same form as 12 months ago.

“He put in two bad runs but last time out he was excellent,” he said.

“He’s travelled well, settled in nicely and has been working strongly.”

This year’s Cup is the eighth in which Cumani has had a runner, having finished second with Bauer in 2008 and Purple Moon the previous year.

The prospects of the largest international contingent ever to come to Melbourne will be revealed further later this week with gallops planned for Dunaden, Red Cadeaux, Tres Blue and Voleurs De Coeurs on Wednesday with others to come over the following days.