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Grey Lion will look to break through on Australian shores

A return to familiar territory may be the spark for Grey Lion to break through on Australian shores.

The Matt Cumani-trained imported French stayer returns to the scene of his Australian debut last year, the Geelong Cup, in which he finished second to Godolphin’s Qewy.

That has been the six-year-old’s best performance in Australia although he was a last-start third in the Cranbourne Cup on October 15 won by Cox Plate contender Folkswood.

Grey Lion has been a source of frustration for Cumani who says the horse works well but doesn’t produce on race day.

“He’s a horse that you’ve got to coax into it a little bit as he’s an entire and thinks about things too much,” Cumani said.

Following last year’s second placing, Grey Lion headed to the Melbourne Cup, finishing 14th behind Almandin.

Cumani was convinced Grey Lion didn’t stay, but he’s come to realise he races best when allowed to do things his way.

The Ballarat trainer says the horse doesn’t like being cluttered up.

“Last start we just sent him out to the front,” Cumani said.

“It was to trick him up as if he’s there alone or with one other horse and then maybe he’ll think he’s at home and just keep working under the urgings of the jockey.

“It was a great effort at Cranbourne.

“He just had to use himself up a little bit early on and that maybe paid a little bit at the end.”

Grey Lion has drawn barrier eight in Wednesday’s field of 12 and will be ridden by Luke Nolen.

Cumani hopes Grey Lion won’t be exposed to any pressure on Wednesday and can show a fighting kick in the straight.

“It will be up to Luke to get the fractions right,” Cumani said.

Grey Lion will be joined by the Darren Weir-trained Gallic Chieftain and Kellstorm in the OTI Racing colours in the Geelong Cup (2400m).

OTI has been in great form registering a Group One double at Caulfield recently.

“Hopefully it’s an OTI trifecta and some of their luck rubs off on us,” Cumani said.

Grey Lion is a $9 chance in latest Geelong Cup betting with Gallic Chieftain ($3.20) and Kellstorm ($5) heading the market.

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