You know the saying ‘you only get one shot at it’, well in the case of the Melbourne Cup, it appears I’m actually getting two shots at it.
After Mount Athos won his seasonal reappearance in 2012, given his owner and in particular, his trainer’s strong desire to win the ‘race that stops a nation’, I hovered up every available price on Betfair for the 2012 Melbourne Cup. The average odds were about 50/1.
You can imagine my considerable excitement as Mount Athos was expertly campaigned by Luca Cumani, given a favourable draw in the race and sent off at 13/2. Waking up ridiculously early to catch the race live turned into a nightmare, as Ryan Moore endured a horror passage and a never nearer fifth was the best that Mount Athos could muster.
That was it, chance gone. Surely in 2013 he would be burdened with too much weight, and probably run an admirable race but be done by something better treated.
So what weight has he been allotted for next month’s renewal – exactly the same as when the moral winner in 2012.
Admittedly he is a best priced 12/1 with three firms, a quarter of the price acquired last year, but that is still an outstanding price about a horse that has every attribute required to win a Melbourne Cup.
He will have been prepared cherry-ripe for the race again, and will have the services of a local jockey – while Ryan Moore is certainly no negative, local knowledge is not to be scoffed at. Perhaps Damien Oliver, regularly used by Cumani in the past, will complete his betting ban rehabilitation in fairytale fashion.
Mount Athos most recent run at Goodwood looked good at the time, but even better in hindsight. In running course specialist Harris Tweed so close on ground that wouldn’t have suited, with subsequent Prix Du Cadran second Tac De Boistron and Group 3 winning Camborne both well beaten off in third and fourth, Mount Athos may have run a career best and could just be a better horse this year.
If he should have won the Melbourne Cup last year, then off the same weight and perhaps having improved in the meantime, he could blow this year’s renewal wide apart and finally break Luca Cumani’s Melbourne Cup hoodoo.
2013 Melbourne Cup – Mount Athos 12/1 (Paddy Power)