Luca Cumani has sensationally criticised Jamie Spencer’s riding of leading Melbourne Cup fancy Mount Athos.
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The trainer has admitted that he will be searching for an Australian jockey for the famous Flemington handicap after his disappointment in Spencer’s riding of the horse this season.
The superstar finished fifth in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot before finishing eighth in the Goodwood Cup earlier this year and Cumani was unhappy with the way his stable flagbearer was ridden in both contests.
Richard Hughes took over in the saddle to finish second in the Listed March Stakes last time out and Cumani explained: “It’s on record that he was given two very bad rides. It wasn’t the plan to ride him like that so I insisted a change of jockey and we got the result that we expected.”
Mount Athos will now return to Melbourne in a bid to finish higher than last year’s fifth and Cumani continued: “The jockey hasn’t quite been fixed up yet, but there’s every chance it will be an Australian jockey."
It would not be the first time that Cumani has found an Australian jockey to ride one of his mounts and he used Damien Oliver on 2007 runner-up Purple Moon and the following year booked Corey Brown to partner Bauer to a nose second to Viewed.
Mount Athos will once again run of 54kg in the handicap and he will now head straight to Flemington for the contest.
Mount Athos finishes fifth in the Melbourne Cup
Cumani continued: “That’s the way that the horse likes to run, he likes to run fresh and that’s what we did last year and he ran very well last year.
“I’m very happy with him, I’m happy with his condition, I’m happy with the way he ran his race last time and I’m happy with the way he ran before Ascot.
“It’s just those two blips were entirely due to the way he was ridden.”