Athos In Line For Compo In Japan

Thu 22nd Nov 2012, 16:07

Mount Athos (second from left) seen here at Dundalk
©Healy Racing Photos
Connections of the former David Wachman-trained Mount Athos are hoping the five-year-old can capitalise on a good draw in Sunday's Japan Cup to make amends for an unlucky run in the Melbourne Cup.

The Luca Cumani-trained gelding has been handed stall five in the Group One at Tokyo, as he drops back to a mile and a half following his fifth place in two-mile showpiece in Flemington.

"The draw is very good news," the horse's owner Dr Marwan Koukash told At The Races.

"I was a bit disappointed we didn't win the Melbourne Cup, but when you look back at the race you have to consider him the unluckiest loser that day.

"The way he finished the race you could say he was the best horse in the race and we got an invite to go for the Japan Cup.

"He's in great shape. Stepping him back to a mile and a half is the only doubt we have, but he showed enough speed in the last four furlongs to challenge any mile and a half horse. We have no problem with that.

"When you have a horse like Mount Athos there is no hiding place in these big races and we are just absolutely delighted to be taking part."

The other British challengers have also fared quite well in the barrier draw with Roger Varian's Sri Putra in stall two, Ed Dunlop's Red Cadeaux in six and Marco Botti's Jakkalberry, who was third in Melbourne, coming out of stall 11.

The home-based Orfevre has fared less favourably, being out widest of all in stall 17 while French raider Solemia, who collared him close home to land the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe last month, goes from stall 14.

The Cheltenham Festival - Will You Have a Flutter?

The Cheltenham Festival begins on the 14th March. The excitement is building: horses are being put through their final preparations on the gallops, jockeys are being booked for rides and anticipation is high for the four day Festival. Many thousands of racing fans will make the trip to the Cotswolds while others will watch from afar but, one thing is for sure, they will all have a bet on their fancies for the big races.

THE IRISH TIMES