With stable favourite Bauer missing out on a start, British trainer Luca Cumani is cautious about his chances of winning Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup.
Cumani will rely on Manighar and Drunken Sailor but is not sure what to expect in the face of an unprecedented international challenge.
He will put blinkers on Manighar while he says much will depend on Drunken Sailor’s Cup day mood.
Drunken Sailor failed in two starts when he came here last year and did not run in the Cup.
“His form indicates he’s a better horse this year and he’s favoured by the draw (barrier eight),” Cumani said.
“But you’ll have to talk to him about it because it depends which side of the bed he gets out really and we’re going to try to make sure he gets out on the right side on Tuesday morning.”
Cumani said he thought Damien Oliver’s mount Manighar, who ran fourth in the Caulfield Cup (2400m), would run well.
“Manighar been running solidly but he hasn’t quite won,” he said.
“We need to find that little bit extra that’s why we’ve put blinkers on him.”
Manighar ran seventh in last year’s Cup and Cumani said 3200m suited much better than the 2400m of the Caulfield Cup.
“I can see him running a good race,” Cumani said.
Bauer, who was runner-up by a nose to Viewed in the 2008 Cup after winning the Geelong Cup, missed out on making the 24-horse field after his prizemoney earnings in the past two years fell short by a paltry $940.
The grey, who was scratched from last year’s Cup after being found to be lame on the morning of the race, was in good form this year winning the Old Borough Cup (2800m) at Haydock in September.
The nine-year-old was unlucky at his second run here this spring when a fast-finishing third to Dunaden in the Geelong Cup (2400m).
“It was a bit of bad luck as he seems to be in good form,” said Cumani, who also trained the second placegetter Purple Moon in 2007.
“He (Bauer) ran quite well in the Herbert Power and again in the Geelong Cup. It’s just a shame that he didn’t finish a little bit closer in either of those two races, then he would have got in.”
Cumani said Bauer would have been his best chance but when asked about his preference for Tuesday, he quipped: “Probably Dunaden.”
Cumani said that with the record number of 11 international runners the race this year it would be even harder to win and nominated France’s Geelong Cup winner Dunaden as the horse he liked.
“He’s a progressive horse who has done nothing but improve all year. I’ve seen him train well and he’s got the right weight,” he said.
Cumani said race favourite and last year’s winner Americain “looks great” but he was concerned about the entire’s 58kg.
He said cases could also be made for Jukebox Jury, the Godolphin horses Lost In The Moment and Modun and the Ed Dunlop-trained Red Cadeaux.
“It’s a slightly harder race this year I think,” Cumani said.