As Australia ponders its lack of representation in next week’s Melbourne Cup, English trainer Luca Cumani is angling to have four runners in the $6 million race.
And he has confidence that any one of them could make amends for the painful defeats inflicted on his runners in previous years.
Cumani’s seasoned quartet includes the 2008 runner-up Bauer who is on the borderline of gaining a start, last year’s seventh placegetter Manighar and another veteran of the 2010 campaign, Drunken Sailor.
His fourth contender, Sahara Sun, the runner-up in this year’s Chilean Derby, needs to run well in Wednesday’s Bendigo Cup (2400m) to ensure a Cup start.
He is the 24th, and last, horse in the order of entry.
For Cumani, the sentimental favourite is Bauer who failed by a nose to claim Viewed three years ago and who finished an unlucky third in last week’s Geelong Cup.
The nine-year-old is 29th in the order of entry into the 24-horse Cup field and it may come down to Cumani taking out one of his other horses to make room for him.
“We’ll worry about that if the possibility arises, but at this stage we are only sure of having two runners,” Cumani said.
In Bauer’s possible absence, Manighar would become the top pick with Dwayne Dunn in the saddle.
A fine fourth in the Caulfield Cup, Manighar will be better suited at Flemington, his trainer said.
“I thought he ran a good, solid race in the Caulfield Cup, but the 2400 metres is too short for him,” Cumani said after seeing the horse work at Werribee on Tuesday.
“He looks like a stronger, more mature horse this year.”
Drunken Sailor is also a definite Cup runner and the one-time hurdler is another better suited by the 3200m at Flemington than the 2400m of the Caulfield Cup in which he finished seventh.
Sahara Sun also worked well at Werribee on Tuesday and will be a force to be reckoned with if he can race as well as Cumani expects at Bendigo.
“I expect him to be able to take a position in the first half dozen, we’ll see what happens from there,” he said.
Sahara Sun is something of a mystery to Cumani who only took the horse over this year after he made a promising start to his racing career in Chile.
Like Bauer and Manighar, Sahara Sun is part-owned by the Australian-based OTI syndicate headed by Terry Henderson and former Test cricketer Simon O’Donnell.
“It took him a little while to get used to England and now he’s moved to Australia, so we can’t be too sure,” Cumani said.
“But he has trained well and he looks well so I’m very hopeful.”