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Mount Athos is the new Melbourne Cup favourite after booking his ticket to Australia with a clear-cut win in the Group Three Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury.

The Luca Cumani-trained five-year-old firmed to $18 with TAB Sportsbet after he strolled to a 3-1/4 length win over Brown Panther with Modun third.

Cumani was delayed in traffic and missed the race but was pleased with the report from jockey Ryan Moore.

“I talked to Ryan Moore, who seemed very happy and thought the horse picked up nicely,” Cumani said.

“The plan is to go for the Melbourne Cup.

“After this, I would think he will go up to 53.5 kilograms, which is the same as one of other hopes for the race, Quest For Peace.”

Mount Athos is even shorter for the Cup with European bookmakers. He is at 14-1 with Ladbrokes while Paddy Power go 12-1 with BetVictor at 10-1.

Cumani has twice trained the runner-up in Australia’s most famous race with Purple Moon (2007) and Bauer the following year.

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