Luckless Melbourne Cup runner Mount Athos will go into the Japan Cup “with little to lose”, according to trainer Luca Cumani.
Mount Athos will be one of three Melbourne Cup starters among five internationals to contest the Japan Racing Association’s richest race next Sunday.
“Hopefully this Cup won’t come too soon for him after the other (Melbourne) Cup we won’t mention,” Cumani said on his website www.lucacumani.com.
“At least the pressure is off on this occasion seeing as we have little to lose with no general expectation that he will beat the likes of (Japanese star) Orfevre.”
The overseas challenge will be spearheaded French mare Solemia, who closed late to deny Orfevre in last month’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
Mount Athos was flown to Tokyo from Melbourne last week with Melbourne Cup third placegetter Jakkalberry and Red Cadeaux who was a victim of a pattern against backmarkers in finishing eighth.
Regarded as one of Cumani’s best chances for an overdue win in Australia’s greatest race, Mount Athos was trapped three-wide for the entire 3200m.
He was forced even deeper on the turn under Ryan Moore before balancing up to finish fifth, just over three lengths from the winner Green Moon.
York Stakes winner Sri Putra will complete the overseas representation as foreign horses try to win the race for the first time since 2005.
The Japan Cup became a target race for Australasian horses in the 1980s and early 1990s with New Zealand mare Horlicks (1989) the David Hayes-trained Better Loosen Up a year later winning for Oceania.
Cumani completed his Australian spring commitments on a winning note when Ibicenco sustained a long run to claim the Sandown Cup on Saturday.
Ibicenco will stay in Australia to continue his racing under the OTI ownership banner with Peter Moody to take over the stayer’s training.